Ørestad Gymnasium: High School Without Borders


Photo: Adam Mørk

It is a special experience to step into the large, open atrium that connects the entire school with a beautiful and distinctive staircase. This new high school is designed for the new technological reality.

Dubbed ‘the school with no walls’ Ørestad Gymnasium’s innovative use of space has inspired a generation of flexible learning facilities around the world.

The building’s concrete, glass and multi-coloured sun shade exterior gives little away, but to enter reveals an exposed interior layout that defies the conventions of what constitutes a school.

The progressive Danish architecture firm 3XN are behind its innovative design: four levels of boomerang-shaped learning platforms rotated around a central atrium and sweeping wooden staircase.

Based on principles of communication, interaction and synergy, each learning platform hosts a cylindrical classroom pod and strategically placed features such as circular wooden lockers, portable bookshelves, glass partitions and desk clusters that together create a variety of intimate spaces. As such, the whole interior is one flexible classroom, with a third of lessons held in open spaces.

Through the diversity of available working environments, akin to the world outside the school, students are made responsible for their collective engagement and learning. The open-plan design and transparency of classes also programme a mutual respect between student groups and teachers that contributes to the school’s cohesiveness.