Danish architecture firm BIG has completed work on a new sports facility at principal Bjarke Ingels' high school, Gammel Hellerup, located north of Copenhagen, Denmark. The firm—in conjunction with CG Jensen, EKJ, and Grontmij—placed the 11,800-square-foot hall 16.5 feet underground in the middle of the school’s courtyard to ensure a good indoor climate and low environmental impact. In addition to its core function as a gymnasium, the building also will serve as space for graduation ceremonies and other social events.
Curved, glued laminated timber beams form the roof of the facility, constructed of beveled concrete walls. The rooftop surface, finished in untreated oak, doubles as a hilly gathering spot for students featuring white enamel-coated steel seating uplit with LED lighting at night. Designed as a long “social bench,” the roof’s edge showcases a lattice design to ensure natural light fills the gym below.
“The main architectural idea emerged from the rules of handball as the soft curved roof takes its form from the mathematical equation of the trajectory of a thrown ball,” Ingels explained in a statement. “In an homage to my old math teacher, we used the mathematical formula for a ballistic arc to shape the geometry of the roof.”
The school has commissioned BIG to design a second building adjacent to the sports facility. The new 15,000-square-foot structure places classrooms next to the façade to ensure abundant natural light and views. Its glass exterior and single-sided sloped green roof will take cues from the new sports hall entrance. The project is scheduled for completion next year.