Modern school in historic buildings

The 100-year-old Vigerslev Allés School in Valby, Copenhagen, having been extensively modernised and extended, is now fully updated and ready to meet the needs of future education. During the renovation, a delicate balance has been maintained between the qualities of the existing buildings and all the requirements and wishes for a new version of the school.

Trodtekt Vigerslev Skole
Photo: Helene Høyer Mikkelsen, architect

‘A school in movement’ was one of the phrases used to describe the school following its renovation, which was completed just before the comprehensive school reform in 2014 which prioritised more daily exercise for Danish schoolchildren. The renovation gives pupils a wide choice of options for creative activities both inside and out. It has also developed in other ways with the integration of new learning methods and changes made to many of the school’s functions. In addition, the buildings have been energy-optimised while the indoor climate has been significantly improved and the acoustics are now perfect for the children’s learning and well-being.

The old buildings have been transformed yet are still seen as charming architectural elements among the dense mix of buildings from several periods.  A former boys’ dormitory in the middle of the schoolyard is now a teaching centre and is the heart and mind of the school. Handicraft and design workshops are located in a wing from the 1970s, in a former swimming pool where, due to the ceiling height and ‘pool depth’, there is an exciting sense of space. Here, Troldtekt acoustic panels in natural wood have been installed between the concrete ceiling beams. In the same wing, a new auditorium and sports hall has been built next to the original one and the two can be joined together to create a larger space when necessary. Again, more acoustic panels have been installed on the ceilings of both these rooms, including interesting lighting which runs in transverse bands alongside the beams.