Våler Elementary School

Elementary School

Våler, Norway

Competition, 2017

SundinLien Architects

Våler is a small village two hours northeast of Oslo next to the river Glåma. The existing elementary school needs an enlargement. The competition brief also consisted of a new cultural house, a sports hall and a swimming hall. In order not to give Våler an overly large building for its context, we have chosen to divide the program into several smaller buildings. Placing them in relation to the existing school building, it gains a new interesting and qualitative outdoor space.

As a central idea, we placed a big square, the school square, as a connecting space from where there is a visual contact with all the entrances of the campus. The school square is not only thought of as a meeting place for school activities but also a new space for the whole town to use for markets, concerts, celebrations etc.

The square also links the school buildings and the more public facilities, with its placement near the bank it creates an extension/expansion of Våler town centre, towards the school and Glåma.

The entire structure of the buildings, as well as outer and inner claddings, will be made of wood. Referring to the wooden panels of the existing school and at the same time acting as an homage to the strong wood-culture in Norway and in present the newfound advantages of the material. All buildings have the same language of façade segments. These can sometimes be openings with windows, closed or covered with playful perforations. Each building has its distinctive character by giving the buildings different colour shades that harmonise with the colour of the existing school and also unique roof shapes determined by the function found inside.