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A revitalised school and nursery is integrated with a public sports arena and auditorium - becoming the "beating heart" of the neighbourhood

When a design for a new sports arena using an old war bunker was deduced insufficient in size, the hunt for a new site began. This led to the idea to integrate the new sports arena with the redesign or of a tired old school and nursery, Ny Krohnborg.

Designed by Rambøll Norge + Arkitektgruppen Cubus AS and located centrally in the neighbourhood of Løvstakken, Norway, the fusion of sports and cultural arena with a school and nursery provides a new "hub" for social integration and activity whilst revitalising and giving new energy and optimism to the community.

The existing site occupies a tight and inclined space between two streets. In order to fit the new sports hall, stage, musical facilities and cafe, the school yard was excavated and the new facilities inserted below. Enabling the neighbourhood activities to break out onto the street edge.

The original school building was a listed historic building. Therefore the new design works to respect the character of the old, whilst infusing it with new life. Natural stone, slate roof tiles, small pane windows, cast iron details and panelled doors are maintained. 

Subtle changes include allowances for better natural light, increased functionality and new doors and windows between the classrooms.

The new structure however, is a stark contrast to the old, expressing lightness, colour and a lively energetic form.

The circulation within the school/cultural centre was given serious attention and thought. While the original school provided narrow flights of dark stairs purely for circulation, the new design employs a number of circulation spaces - lifts, ramps and stairs with improved lighting, visual signage and colour coding.

The large atrium space serves as a central point not only connecting one space to another, but as a comfortable and lively space to hang out and take in the hub of activity.

A major aspect of the design was for the architecture to work seamlessly with the landscape. The school yard located atop the cultural centre cleverly breaks out onto a central landscaped courtyard facing away from the street below. The many ramps, levels, textures and undulating forms cater for a number of play activity - skating, running, cycling, climbing and acrobatics.

Ny Krohnborg is an example of how a school and nursery might serve more than just the children. Rather creating a place which welcomes the entire community.


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