The school houses over 400 students in grades 1-7 and 60 school employees in the urban center of Steinkjer, Norway. The material palette is composed largely of exposed wood, which is used both in construction and for the façade. The choice of material creates a warm and natural environment for primary education as well as a 25% reduction in carbon emissions from a conventionally built school.
At the heart of the school is the stepped amphitheatre that faces a performance space and music room, and which doubles as the staircase connecting the school’s two floor. The amphitheatre provides an event space that can be during and after school hours as well as a podium for students to congregate outside the confines of the classroom. Colorful niches and play areas set into hallways and underneath staircases activate the entire building and expands the boundaries for where interactions can take place.
The design emphasizes a close connection between indoor and outdoor spaces, in recognition of the outdoors as an extension of the learning environment. The landscape strategy enables a range of uses and activities, promoting a more active model of primary education. Grass fields, soccer fields, and playground envelope the school on all sides, creating a green buffer between the school and the urban environment.