Sct Nicolai School Centre from the 1850’ ies is a continuous reincarnation of everything from the traditional Danish school with gyms and schoolyards. With five art houses as the new function the possibility of a new typology of creative and dynamic culture centre emerges. The project evolves with the idea of the schoolyard as the centre, joining the different functions together, an active free space in a more cheerful schoolyard, than the historical version. A yard, creating a base of the different house programs, movies, literature, house of children, craftsmanship and music.
Along the west side a continuous wall of corten steel is built. Furthermore different outdoor activity spaces are added to the schoolyard: The Garden of Tales, The Terrace, The City Garden, The Yard and The Square, opening up towards Katrinegade. The tilting terrain in the schoolyard is prevailed and a new enclosing surface of black asphalt is laid out, on which patterns are drawn with thermo plastic and street paint. The schoolyard is designed with a big white drawing on a new layer of black asphalt- as a new drawing board. The project development has been theme based and five groups of users have during the design process participated in concretizing the programming and the future schedule of utilization and maintenance.
Since 1890 Sct. Nicolaj has been a school complex. The schoolyard as well as all the buildings had since then been worn down, unfit for the modern school life. Therefore the whole building complex with the schoolyard and the five buildings was to be turned into a cultural place, renovated by The Municipality of Kolding and the Realdania Foundation.
The complex is an almost 3.400 m2big schoolyard with five different school buildings from various periods of time. Build from 1890 until late 1930, all made in different styles and with either red or yellow brick or plaster. The courtyard has a long rectangular shape almost 100 meter by 35 meters with a small terrain slope in the middle. Along one side of the courtyard to the west there was an ugly condemned fence and planted area that ran for almost 70 meters. The buildings had all various stairs and extensions in poor state. The courtyard was used only as a parking lot and the whole state was literally a messy backyard site.
AIM OF INTERVENTION
The aim for the site has been to turn the whole area into a cultural complex, each house having different purposes as follows: House of literature, House of films, House of crafts, House of children’s culture and House of music and the schoolyard should be created so that it would benefit all of the dynamic features from the houses. Hereby we harvested following programs: , a cinematic place as an outdoor scene also able to feature small concerts or plays, places for exposition and markets, places for children to play and everyone else to stay gather, run and just be in the sun. The aim of intervention by an architectural point of view: On the city level or structural codex we did two things to full fill the yard on both sides: A new wall almost 70 meters long and a new structure in the row of houses on the other side. Our aim was to make a new concept for a modern school yard, one that was a lot livelier, full of joy, participation and through feeling of dynamic purpose.
DESCRIPTION OF THE INTERVENTION
The new schoolyard now consists of various situations and elements that communicates with the five building programs; a entrance area when coming from Blæsbjergade, a garden for children’s play and relaxing on the grass, a terrace for the cinema cafés guests, a big circular stage for summer cinema screenings and theatre plays or concerts, a area to have markets, a small courtyard for drinks and talks when visiting the house of music and a square for multiple use.
Having a differentiated building complex the aim for the project has been to bind the complex together as a hole. Therefore the selection of materials has been essential. The main material used is cortensteel, asphalt and white thermoplastic combined with pale pink magnolia trees and bright blue, yellow and red elements in the garden.
The asphalt serves as a blanket covering the whole schoolyard, the bright white thermoplastic creating links between the houses. The white dots challenge one to walk from dot to dot or merely creating ones own by drawing directly on the asphalt. The cortensteel creates, with its orange colour, an inclosing wall that links the various buildings together. But also creates areas for recreation like the terrace and the stage. The blue, yellow and red in the garden are elements for playing such as a sandbox and water basins.
The new schoolyard has not got a central space but has many points of view – a polyfocal space. Is has become a place for various activities link to the themes of the buildings, a public urbane space that now invites one to participate.
+ Project credits / data
Project: Nicolai Cultural Center
Designer: Arkitekt Kristine Jensens Tegnestue | http://www.kristinejensen.dk/
Site: Kolding, Denmark
Client: The Municipality of Kolding
Collaborators: Dorte Mandrip Arkitekter
Design period: 2003 – 2007
Area: 3.800 m2
Cost: 1 mill. euro
Completion: Oktober 2007
Photographer: Simon Høgsberg & Bjarne Frost
Typology: Landscape design