The project had ambitious goals from the onset to be one of the most environmentally friendly schools in the world, which the school achieves as the largest zero emissions building in Norway. The school’s 2,000 m2 solar-paneled roof, 21 geothermal wells, and biogas plant will eventually produce a surplus of energy that can be redistributed.
The school sits at the crux of Saupstad, at the intersection of where the town’s urban axis meets the green belt, to create a meeting point for learning, culture, and recreation in the community. The sprawling base includes all public-facing functions, including large auditoriums for theatrical and dance productions and sports facilities. The impressive sports hall boasts three handball courts that meet international standards and can host up to 400 spectators. When not in use for sports matches, the court can become a stadium for concerts.
Two main entrances to the east and west lead directly into the light-filled atrium, the school’s lively center where students meet to socialize, conduct group work, or simply relax between classes. Classroom are arranged around the atrium with spacious hallways that encourage social interaction to track all the way up the building.
Several innovative solutions were implemented in the project to achieve Norway's most energy efficient school. The ventilation system optimizes the indoor climate to reduce energy use on fans. In addition to being designed for maximum daylight access, thermal comfort, and low heat loss, the building is also one of the first to include electrochromic glass with integrated sun protection.
As the first large-scale project planned in the urban renewal of Saupstad-Kolstad in Norway, the school is also a catalyst for quality-of-life improvements across the city.