Denmark campus opens with eye on future for sustainable living

Denmark campus opens with eye on future for sustainable living

Everyone can relate to being the new kid at school and struggling to find the cafeteria, classrooms and (worst-case scenario) the bathrooms.

So spare a thought for the Copenhagen International School’s 930 returning students because the building’s brand new and nobody knows where anything is – not even the staff.

But there will be few complaints, as the CIS’s new 25,000-square-meter campus in the Copenhagen district of Nordhavn, Denmark, incorporates innovative architecture, sustainability and cutting-edge pedagogy, reports the Copenhagen Post.

For example, the campus is color-coded, which means that every section (early years, primary school, middle school and high school, encompassing a 3-19 age range) and floor is distinct and recognizable from the outside.

Additionally, it has the capacity to house 1,200 students, so there is plenty of space – for now.

Continually challenged to consider

“Sustainability is probably the most important agenda for the future,” said Thomas Martin Nielsen, the director of communications at the CIS. “So we keep on challenging our students to make sure we plant in their minds the idea that they have to take care of the community and environment, and not just themselves.”

The idea behind the new building is to teach students about the approaches of sustainability and innovation firsthand. By being surrounded by solar panels and renewable materials, students can understand how they work and why they’re beneficial.

Less stressful environment

The school is designed to allow for a broad and holistic education, while also addressing the students’ individual needs.

“The sound acoustics, air flow and lighting are all designed to lessen the every-day stresses of the students and to help them focus and achieve better learning,” said Anders Smith from the Copenhagen International School Property Fund (ECIS).

Overall, the school challenged architect CF Møller with creating an inclusive community where it can educate the citizens of the future with an emphasis on sustainable living.

A closer look at CIS's new campus:

  • Each section of the school has its own tower – Early Years, Primary School, Middle School and High School – and its own design. Each floor its own color and layout, which provides a sense of belonging and identity.
  • The school is designed to allow multiple modalities of learning to fit individual needs.
  • Teachers or sensors will be able to adjust LED-based lighting to suit classroom activity, as well as the airflow with extra oxygen if required.
  • Some12,000 solar panels on the school’s building will supply 50 percent of the school’s energy consumption.
  • In the longer term, the school toilets will reuse rain or other gray water to flush, all interiors will be made of natural materials; all cardboard and paper will be compressed, sold or reused; pupils will grow their own fruit and vegetables in green-houses; and all organic waste from the kitchens will be disposed of in a bio tank for later use as animal feed.
  • Copenhagen International School, which is Denmark’s largest international school and is attended by students representing more than 80 different countries, was founded in 1963.
  • Broken down, 20 percent of students come from Denmark, 20 percent come from the United States and 13 percent come from the United Kingdom. The majority are children of parents employed at major international establishments in Denmark.


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