Kléberg School

The project for Klebergskoli is for the enlargement of a primary and secondary school serving the village of Kjarlanes and the surrounding farming communities. The location between a dark mountain and an oily sea is renowned for an extremity of climate.

The primary parti is the reorganisation of the school about new a sunken court. The existing sports hall, and school buildings together with the new building provide shelter from the prevailing and strong winds whilst allowing views of the ocean and sunshine to the south. The court also acts as a meeting place for children arriving by foot or bicycle from the village and those arriving by bus or car. Covered areas extending along the sides of the new wings provide shelter in bad weather.

Culturally the oldest of the existing school buildings has a status far exceeding its function and in this scheme it has been reset in a green lawn. Internally the buildings volume has been embraced as a workshop. The newer building has been lightly massaged; existing functions retained as appropriate and open spaces appropriated for teaching spaces.

The new building is connected to the existing school on the south east corner with a stair down to the teachers quarters and a ramp up to the classrooms. A high window frames the mountain ridge for those on the ramp. The classroom windows are large but the orientation precludes the need for sun shading. Outside the classrooms a day-lit space with low views over the play court is furnished for informal study in close connection to the computer lab and library in the new west wing. All the teachers facilities are on the ground floor overlooking the court with public functions located closer to the entrance. A long wind lobby allows many pupils to change shoes simultaneously. The lobby also facilitates direct access to the two storey school hall which may be opened to the court in clement weather. Similarly the stage is on a large jack enabling the room to be enlarged internally.

Although the new buildings are economically clad in corrugated steel their permanence is underwritten by the grassed roofs and the use of Kléberg's stone on the south and entrance facades. Large windows infer a scale of confidence and reveal the strong interior which is characterised by a simple, almost agricultural, building technique softened by wood and plaster veneer. Building services are minimal with natural ventilation throughout.

All excavated material is used as fill in the landscape works which subtly reflect the rural location and provide shelter for approach routes. Within the court hard-paved areas are a mixture of tarmac and cast-offs from local stone working which are economic beautiful and practical. Hardy trees will grow in the court, softening the ambience and offering shade and additional shelter.

To build a school is to invest in future generations, to secure continued prosperity. This proposal seeks to assist the vision of educators and the enthusiasm of youth to create a living community of learning.

Client : City of Reykjavík
Architects : Studio Granda
Structural Engineers : Línuhönnun