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White Arkitekter completes €69m Norwegian school

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Swedish practice White Arkitekter has completed this new secondary school in Tønsberg - Norway’s oldest village


The 15,000m² project brings together three existing schools on one site, creating a ‘state-of-the-art new campus ’for academic education, design and building trades, automotive mechanics and engineering. 

The 750-pupil technical academy sits on the quayside between Tønsberg’s town centre and its main port on the Baltic Sea. 

At the centre of the scheme is a semi-covered open ‘hanger’ space which provides an outdoor area for workshops, concerts, and exhibitions. According to the architect’s ‘the vast proportions of this space emulate the ship building facilities which once stood on the site’. 

The four-storey school has been designed around a central staircase, while next to the outdoor hanger space is a huge common room which includes an entrance plaza, canteen, auditorium, and exhibition area. 

Faerder Technical High School by White Arkitekter

Faerder Technical High School by White Arkitekter

Site plan

Architect’s view

The building’s procurement was unique: the school is the result of a joint venture between the municipality, and a team of consultants, including White, who formed a company with a construction firm. The school was engaged from the outset to ensure an ongoing dialogue between White’s design team and the end users.

The campus was designed from the inside out. Analysis of the site and key sight-lines led to the design of three key meeting places within the campus which dictated the form of the 15,000m2 school building. It is designed as a permeable building within an accessible campus to actively encourage an interplay with the wider community.

The school is constructed of sustainably sourced wood and concrete, which was chosen for its thermal mass and cooling qualities. This combines with a highly reflective rooftop that reduces initial heat buildup. The adjacent canal water is also used as a cooling aid in the summer time and heat exchanges have been installed as part of the thermal management system. Above all it is designed as a highly flexible space to accommodate the evolving needs of the school and the community for many years to come. 

Faerder Technical High School by White Arkitekter

Faerder Technical High School by White Arkitekter


Project data

Location Tønsberg, Norway
Type of project public sector/municipality
Client VFK, Vestfold Fylkeskommune (Vestfold County)
Architect White Arkitekter
Structural engineer Sweco
M&E consultant Norconsult
Main contractor Veidekke
Completion date 2015
Contract duration 2009 – 2014
Gross internal floor area 15,000m2
Total cost €68.6 million

Faerder Technical High School by White Arkitekter

Faerder Technical High School by White Arkitekter

Source: Lindman

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