Circular Rejuvenation in Architecture


JJW Architects Katrinedal interior

Photo by JJW Architects


JJW Architects Katrinedal

Photo by JJW Architects


JJW Architects KD1

Photo by JJW Architects


JJW Architects KD2

Photo by JJW Architects


JJW Architects Katrinedal night

Photo by JJW Architects


Danish JJW Architects has utilised the world’s first Cradle to Cradle certified cement-free mortar from the Danish company KALK to build the extension and renovation of Katrinedals School in Copenhagen. You could rightfully call this a pioneering project in terms of sustainability. In addition, the reused bricks in the new buildings are originally from the Bispebjerg Hospital and the National University Hospital in Copenhagen.

“We have designed a socially sustainable school that is future-proof in relation to meeting the learning and social requirements that an elementary school would be expected to meet in the coming years. In addition, we focused on creating a robust education environment that maintains ifs function as a school. Our idea was to create a school where the existing and new buildings help to create a campus sensation. Therefore, we focused on developing premises with as much transparency as possible, in order to create coherence between the outside and inside”, says Lars B. Lindeberg.

Historically, buildings have been our “resource bank”, and indeed most of our cities are built with materials from previous settlements. Today though, things look very different and many of our buildings simply become waste. To bring this development to life thus requires a change in the construction industry mindset. We must adhere to the old saying, one man’s gold, is another man’s waste, and we must treat again our existing buildings and construction materials as a sustainable resource that can be recycled. The circular economy is here to stay”, says Jørn Kisslinger, Director of Sustainability at JJW Architects, about the sustainable part of the project.

Katrinedals School is a typical Danish school, together with the traditional central assembly hall. However, the school needed an expansion to meet its future learning environment needs, while the nearby Brønshøj Sports Hall has also been renovated and converted into a modern sports hall, which both supports school activities as well as the local community.

“I am proud that we managed to incorporate a wide range of sustainable initiatives, such as, amongst others, the world’s first Cradle to Cradle mortar and recycled bricks”, says architect Lars B. Lindeberg, Director of Learning & Culture at JJW Architects, who continued:

“The new buildings have a brick façade, which ensures that the new construction adapts to the existing buildings. In fact, Copenhagen Municipality is the first developer that has used mortar from KALK in a construction project. The reused bricks bring a saving of around 70 tonnes of CO2.”

The school’s new extension contains the lower secondary education area, a new science centre and drama and music rooms as well as an EAT-kitchen and lounge. The first floor is mainly classrooms and workspaces, while the ground floor includes classrooms, and residential and arrival areas so that the school is better linked with the surroundings.

“We have upgraded the outdoor areas, so they appear attractive and can be used actively for classes as well as outside school hours”, says Lars B. Lindeberg. Moreover, the surroundings areas have also been in focus in the project.

The project includes 3,500 m2 of new construction and the renovation of 6,000 m2 of existing buildings.

Companies mentioned in this article

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