The Frederiksbjerg Skole is perhaps the only school with a Multifunctional Ninja Track listed in the blueprints. Here, physical form manifests pedagogical philosophy; an experiment in creating healthier learning spaces. With 100 different ways to move throughout the day, movement is in the building’s DNA.
Frederiksbjerg Skole represents a rare opportunity for pedagogical vision to precede physical design. Most often, a school’s curriculum must adapt to the constraints of a preexisting space, inherently limiting innovative approaches to education that require specialized space. In any other environment than the Frederiksbjerg Skole, such an atmosphere of relentless activity might be uncontrollable, failing to balance spirited physicality and focused learning. The Frederiksbjerg Skole, in its state of perpetual motion, represents the collaborative product of pedagogy and architecture.
“In a way, it’s a paradigm shift. We’re moving away from the old school model, where the teacher stands at the front and runs everything,” Frederiksbjerg Skole principal Jette Bjørn Hansen says. “With this new environment, where you’re no longer always at the head of the classroom, you need to make a plan to get students to use this space. The students really like being in a room that provides consistent activity and structure.”
Two years after its doors opened in August 2016, the Frederiksbjerg Skole remains an influential example of a school purpose-built to suit an active educational vision, drawing visitors from across Scandinavia and Europe. For many students, the school is the first formal educational setting they have experienced, and stands out as one with greater room for personalized learning. Hansen says that this active approach gives students a broader education.
“Beyond the classroom, I can see them learning things that they’re not tested in. They develop skills that would never show up on a standardized test,” Hansen says. “Instead of getting ready for exams, we are going for life-long learning.”