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The Nordahl Grieg Secondary School

Copper Architecture Forum

Early in 2006, Hordaland County, on the west coast of Norway, instigated an architectural competition for the design of a new high school in the Sörås district of Bergen. The winners – against stiff competition from seven other entries – were the architects LINK.

From the very start, the main goal for both client and desig­ners was to create a modern school, well adapted to current and future needs, and with the flexibility to change and meet future challenges. Functional and aesthetic considerations were also important, leading to an attractive building and inspiring workplace for both students and teachers.

The total area of the building is 14,000 m2 with room for 800 students and 150 staff members. The building’s architecture is a clear statement of intent, provi­ding a long-life and durable copper and glass enclosure able to accommodate changing requirements. It symbolises a youthful energy: dynamic, self-assured, colourful, fresh and challenging. A skin of green pre-patinated copper embraces the building’s transparent volume, designed to give the impression of lightness and dynamism. This is heightened by the main glass facade which incorporates narrow fields of coloured glass. These elements symbolise each student as an individual and independent being. 

Long-strip Copper Roofing

The framework of the building comprises concrete pillars with precast concrete beams and load-bearing steel girders. The roof construction consists of off-site manufactured roof elements with supporting beams of steel and insulation in between, covered by plywood and roofing felt. The massive, almost flat roof – with a fall of only 3 degrees – is covered with 0.7 mm thick copper in 14 m long strips, installed using long-strip techniques. 

Essentially, two external materials have been used here, both practically maintenance-free: copper for the roof and the façade skin and glass within aluminium for the glazed facades. All the materials were chosen for low maintenance costs over time and a distinct quality that will endure. The building was completed last Autumn and has already been nominated for the Bergen municipality architecture award 2010.

The concept for the choice of colour and material is that all massive interior surfaces except canteen and auditorium are white, black or grey. Reduced use of colours gives the light, which falls through the coloured glass in the facade or glass doors, a neutral projection surface to play with. This contributes to create identity and character to individual rooms

This article was published in 30/2011 issue of Copper Architecture Forum magazine.


Nordahl Grieg Secondary School

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