The municipality of Kopervik wants a robust high school that can work well during today’s educational ambitions. The school must be able to accommodate new education without significant rebuilding. The concept should be elastic so that it can be built. The Big Friendly School is planned as a low and powerful signal building for sustainability, emphasizing that school building and the outdoor area can become an educational tool. The school will be a ‘plushus’ project in all the meanings of the word.
The facility will build identity and belongings for students, teachers, neighborhoods and towns. The school’s profile is based on Aqua, Energy and Environment. This should be intuitively readable in the physical environment of the Great Friendly School.
The biological character of the site – Educational tools
The area now consists of a swamp and swamp forest. These are both vulnerable habitats in Norway. Traditionally, this swamp and marsh forest has been used for pastures and beats. Sump and marsh forests are underrepresented landscapes in our country, and strongly overrepresented among landscaped landscapes.
Ecology is very rich, there is a lot of nutrition in the soil, plants grow very quickly and are regarded as the most species-rich landscapes in northern Europe. Sump differs from ant, because it is too productive for a particular moss – instead we get high grass and varieties, blacks, earwheels, powerful, flowering herbs and even orchids. Insects and bird fauna are also very rich. Over thirty species registered in the area in recent years are on the Norwegian Red List of Endangered Species! Ecology in such wetlands is dependent on fluctuating water levels and a generally high groundwater level. All the plants that grow here have adaptations to bring oxygen down to their roots so that they can withstand flooding. If it is dug and drained in the area, it will be almost inevitable that the river’s ecosystem will be greatly reduced. Therefore, we must put permeable mass on top of the terrain where schools, playgrounds and networks of trails are to be built. There are well-proven water-permeable coverable coatings that can be used.
If we only remove the upper half of the amplitude of the fluctuating water level, we will be able to mount the river and have a dry schoolyard all year long. Then the groundwater level and the water level in the river must not be allowed to exceed an average level of the original water level fluctuation. This will in time trigger an ecological succession – other herbs, shrubs and trees will colonize the area and eventually there will be a rich spruce forest instead of a marsh forest.
Our school-minded idea is that students should help in designing their own outdoor space. Our proposal includes an annual visit of the ecologist who works on our team so that he can teach teachers and students at specific school levels. If you make an exhibition about this every year, after a few decades, the school will be able to document the succession in the schoolyard and how the school’s students themselves have helped a place-oriented ecology. This will be part of an educational tool for a sustainable signal building.
Part of the science education at the Big Friendly School becomes a practical educational project where the students themselves participate and influence the ecological succession initiated by lowering the groundwater level, where high grass and varieties are gradually replaced by flowering herbs and edible trees. Sustainability and ecology become a locally anchored and visible part of the school’s identity.
Implementation on site
The Big Friendly School is centrally located on the grounds. It has a big footprint because the school is low. At the same time, we provide the area’s existing nature with hydrology and water as a prerequisite a status as an important part of the profile. We enter in this landscape
places and trails that do not prevent water penetration (permeal covers), but safeguard the children’s different activity needs.
Between neighbors along Lyngveien (garden town) and the front of the school is regulated parking space. This is planned as a filter between garden town and school building. The front desk invites you to a quiet meeting with the school’s main entrance, sports building and an exposed Newton department. The square creates a pleasant distance to the neighbors. At the same time, the joint activities will be exposed and welcome everyone. In the evening, the activities can lighten the space.
All entrances to the steps lie to the east wing or west wing in natural extension of time and cycle paths into the area. Emphasis is placed on the fact that no pupils will find that they have to go around the school to get to their area of study.
The main arrival of the youngest students is located to the east side of the building. The youngest own the eastern area of the site. The main arrival of the older students lies in the west. They own the western part of the plot. Thus, no one must cross each other’s playground. Common outdoor area is located southwards between the areas of the area. The common area in the south has contact with the courtyards and walkway which connects to the free area. The frontage and parking area will be the public entrance and the access for driving.
The nature and shape of the landscape
The plot of Stangeland is south-east of Kopervik in the transition between residential area and larger open-air areas. The plot is a valley embankment surrounded by several small hills that forms a soft nest in the center toward the forest in the south. We use this topography as a generator to create formal activities in the flat land in opposition to informal experiences in the hill-side and forest for the students. The contrast between the square courtyard of the school and the soft landscape reinforces this dialectic.
The regulation plan has specified admissions, street and built-up area for the school. The project follows all of the regulatory plans’ main allocations. Exit KV08, we use as time and bike access to the school primarily. Goods delivery is placed as a one-way loop from KV13. Gatetun GT2 is retained as an existing nature. Thus the traffic area towards Lyngveien is scaled down.