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Bjarke Ingels Group re-envisions how school buildings should work with Glasir Academic Complex

Modernistic development brings eye-catching architecture to the Faroe Islands.

May 09, 2019 |

All Photos: Rasmus Hjortshoj

Planners in China, Dubai, United Arab Emirates and other spots worldwide that have not been known in modern times for their stunning architecture, are changing how the world perceives their nations and towns. Through eye-catching, architectural principals-defying structures, these spots and other more remote ones are becoming destination points for architecture.

So, move over UAE, with your tall skyscrapers housing financial companies and your sleek urban spots. Make room for the newest, shiniest architectural gem—the Glasir-Torshavn College school building complex, in the Faroe Islands.



“This building gives us all the conditions we need to succeed. It is now our responsibility to get as much as possible from this fantastic environment. We are certain that our new surroundings will have a great impact on how teachers will teach and how students will learn,” says Bogi Bech, CEO, Glasir.

The 206,000-sf vortex-shaped education center connects three schools under one roof. Set on a hillside by the Atlantic Ocean, the building brings together the Faroe Islands Gymnasium, Tórshavn Technical College and the Business College. Bjarke Ingels Group won the design competition, along with Lemming & Eriksson, Fuglark Architects, Sámal Johannesen, Martin E. Leo and KJ Elrad.


See Also: Bjarke Ingels Group creates 66 homes for low-income citizens in Copenhagen


Glasir officials said the idea behind the design concept was to retain the separate identities of the schools while fostering collaboration. The structure is meant to be an incubator for innovation.

The new building is comprised of a stack of five separate floors that wrap around a central courtyard. The building is designed as if it were a vortex, with each level opening and the top levels radiating outwards.



Part of the point is to connect the students, academics, the school building complex, and wind-swept, seabird-filled picturesque Faroese landscape. The islands are a destination point for bird-watchers and other nature lovers. And now, perhaps, for even more lovers of learning.

"Inspired by the dramatic Faroese topography, Glasir is designed like a landscape for learning: the central space of the school is conceived as a topographical interpretation of the natural landscape — a continuous terraced terrain with steps and staircases that connect across several levels and merge the multistory building into a single entity,"  says Bjarke Ingels, Founder & Creative Director, BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group.




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