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Rising up along the portside of Tønsberg, Norway’s oldest village, White has created Færder; a new beacon of educational prowess, breathing life into a former industrial area in decline.
White, with a competition winning proposal was commissioned Færder technical high school in order to redefine not only the perception, but the reality of how one pursues a practical education. The vision is to create a vibrant interplay between the school, the town and the region’s enterprises; not just allowing, but inviting an intermingling of the non-student population to share in the new space that is created.
The new technical academy stands between Tønsberg’s town center and its main port, a quayside that spans a pinch between the widening maw of the Baltic Sea, which enters the port on either side. In an area that has seen the slow demise of the use of its industrial buildings, this new technical school provides the perfect opportunity and an ideal location to symbolically rejuvenate the area, specifically in the types of practical trades that the area was once widely known for, like carpentry, welding and mechanical engineering.
The open campus pathways provide a number of innovative mechanisms which encourage the public to interact with, and experience the academic pursuits of the school, including what is called the “Hanger”. With open workshops, mechanical garages and lecture halls, the Hanger is an open expanse at the center of the converging public and student pathways; allowing the people of Tønsberg to be drawn into the work the students are doing while on their way to grab a morning coffee or while walking the dog. By exposing the next generation tackling new problems within the openly displayed classes, the school, and all 750 students that the school enrolls actively feel more like a part of the community.
Completed in 2014, Færder features a unique vertical sequence of spaces, including and entrance plaza, canteen, auditorium and exhibition area, which collectively form a huge common room just next to the Hanger. Based on design focusing on the use of daylight; the building’s huge two story windows are complimented by pervasive daylight shining in from the diamond shaped roof opening in the Hanger. Light from the common room’s upwards reaching windows falls upon its huge centralized timber staircase, on which span long, horizontal platforms, dotted with chairs and tables. Wide enough to be used as exhibition areas or for lectures, this expansive staircase connects the varying spaces within the common room, and rises the full height of the building.
Intertwining what resembles a school and a factory workspace, the design of Færder also focuses on the use of materials; the school was primarily built using concrete and wood. Showing excellent heat retention, these materials also show exceptional efficiency with the building’s cooling strategies; utilizing the adjacent canal water in the summer time, alongside a highly reflective rooftop that reduces initial heat buildup. Furthermore, incorporated into the concrete, modern workshop like design are thermal exchangers, efficient climate-change strategies that guarantee low energy consumption; no small feat in institution that uses a high volume of energy hungry machinery.
Location: Tønsberg, Norway
Area: 15 000 sqm
Architects: White Architects
Team: Karin Björning-Engström, Björn Bondesson, Karin Jakobsson, Sam Keshavarz, Thomas Landenberg, Paula Mackenzie, Carl Molin, Roger Olsson
Photographs: Ivan Brodey – Eson Lindman