ReVærk Arkitektur promotes nature and learning at Danish countryside school
‘House of Nature’ by ReVærk Arkitektur is designed to promote forests and outdoor learning at a Danish countryside school
Designed by ReVærk Arkitektur in order to promote nature and learning about outdoor life, this sustainable architecture project is part of the Silkeborg folk high school in the Danish countryside. House of Nature, as the project is called, was conceived as both a venue and a medium to teach environmental values. It is suitably located between open fields and a forest, and is entirely made out of wood.
The aim was to create a structure that is fit for purpose within an education setting, but also uses a material that minimises the ‘life cycle carbon footprint of the building’, explain the architects. As a result, the team used timber for everything – from interiors to exteriors, as well as insulation and construction. They even used screw pile foundation techniques in order to eliminate the need for concrete on site. This way the project can leave the natural site untouched if ever it needs to be dismantled.
Designed as a composition of four volumes, interconnected internally but visually distinct, to provide different classrooms and facilities, House of Nature fans out in plan. The arrangement can be accessed by a purpose-built decked footpath over the fields. This approach breaks down the overall volume, and so, in combination with the building’s timber skin, helps it blend effortlessly with its wooded surroundings.
The structure’s distinct cladding – made of shingles of acacia wood framed by an exoskeleton of oak – defines the House of Nature’s identity and will allow it to weather beautifully over time. Meanwhile, inside, the visible Douglas fir construction and Douglas plank cladding ensure users remain connected to the trees throughout. At the same time, the forest and surrounding park are framed by large openings. A slim, steel staircase connects the interior’s two levels.
Every little detail was carefully considered to fit the overall theme and character of the building, as the architects explain: ‘Light fixtures as well as switches and power plugs are all handpicked to complement the rustic nature of the building and to contrast with the soft colours of the wood.’ Nature and learning come together seamlessly in this powerful Danish design. §