Skolen i Sydhavnen


Photo: Torben Eskerod

The city’s new primary and lower secondary school floats like a ship on water, which also happens to be an active element in teaching at the school. In addition, the school is used by residents of this new area in Sydhavnen, where life is just beginning to take form.

The School in the South Harbour has a living façade made up of sustainable materials, technology and graphic design that hosts an LED field showing the weather – all to connect classroom, community, city and harbour. This rubs shoulders with maritime-themed statements reminding pupils of the sea’s part in Danish culture.

Focusing on science and oceanography, this ‘open’ school attracts families to Sluseholmen and Teglholmen, sharing its craft, music and canteen facilities with locals, as well as a vast external staircase that integrates with the harbour to act as an amphitheatre.

The school makes outdoor play spaces of its roofs, and counts the water as an extra classroom. In sports, kids can catch fish from a kayak to dissect in science or eat in cooking, while the craft room is tooled for boat repairs.

Skolen i Sydhavnen is designed both as a ship for pupils to ride through their education, and as a small city with house-shaped storage and gathering spots. Its size scales up as its pupils grow, providing the right balance to feel secure, yet slowly increase independence.

Sustainable initiatives include intelligent lighting, a green roof, solar cells and programmable temperature and light. There’s also an automated system to open doors and windows to flush fresh air through the school nightly.


Copenhagen, Sydhavn


JJW Arkitekter

Landscape architect



Copenhagen Municipality