Rommen School and Cultural Center / Østengen & Bergo AS

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The former school building was too small, and had to be replaced. The new building includes a large multipurpose sports hall, its own performance hall and an open library. Offices for the community culture school and part of the local council is also located here. The school houses 770 pupils from 1st to 10th grade. The facilities both indoor and outdoor will serve the whole community. The school is located to an almost flat site, slightly rising to the north, in a valley surrounded by hills. East of the site there are ravines with grassy slopes and valuable vegetation belts. Two power lines are crossing the area. With the largest line to the west, the project and the landscape design therefore pays more attention to the east. The vegetation belts in the east are reinforced and continue into the campus. Closer to the building, they get more cultured, and “finger-merged” with the building wings.

Landscape Architect: Østengen & Bergo AS
Location: Rommen, Oslo,
Architect: L2 Arkitekter
Project Year: 2010
Photographs: Rolf Estensen, Espen Grønli, and Østengen & Bergo AS

© Rolf Estensen

The concept is based on:
• Finger-merge east west
between vegetation belts and building wings in the east
between vegetation belts and parking lots in the west

• A belt of activity north south
activities and playground for all ages

Several features is incorporated on the site:
“The square “ is to the south, gathers many people on special occasions and will be a nice and sunny meeting place with a variety of informal seating options.

© Rolf Estensen

Zones for activities are located along the “activity belt” and zones for more quiet playing closer to the building. There are a variety of seating options. Access, drop off and parking to the site is in the north and west. Drop off is mainly for transport of children in the 1-4th grades, SFO and “family learning “. The total parking capacity is 88 of which 4 HC.

© Rolf Estensen

Existing walkways to the school are maintained, access from south and southeast improved. A walkway from the south turns into the main axis of the plan. East of these axis are areas for residence and activities, and in the west are traffic areas and parking lots. Existing footpaths are steep, and do not satisfy the requirements of universal design / accessibility. A new walkway is with a gradient of 1:20 is therefore built from the sports grounds in the lowest parts of the valley and up to the school. This path can also be used by the youngest school-children who do not want to pass the older kids on the way to their classroom. There are two areas for bicycle parking, a total of 224 bicycles.

© Østengen & Bergo AS

Outdoor classroom: The elevated wooden decks in the quiet zones between the wings of the building, can be used as outdoor classrooms. The children can sit, lie down or eat lunch. The digital outdoor computer ground provides exciting opportunities for teaching and learning outdoors. Letters and characters are painted on the school grounds for outdoor learning. In the outer zones of the site is a green zone of existing trees and newly planted trees and shrubs. The trees are named with small signs so that children can learn the name and family of the common Norwegian forest species.

© Espen Grønli

The emphasis is put on creating challenges for all age groups; various courts, various balances, swing and climbing toys, and a digital playground. There are also good opportunities for separate playing.

South of the teaching wings are quiet zones, with room for quiet play and games.

© Rolf Estensen

The large roof is highly visible from surrounding homes and roads. The roof is covered with vegetation-mats of sedum plants, and is a pleasant complement to the rolling surroundings. Sedum-maths have different colors throughout the year. Existing trees on the land has been preserved when possible. A lot of trees are planted in the outer part of the school. Spring flowers in the lawn provide a pleasant start to the grooving season.

© Østengen & Bergo AS

The outdoor areas are adapted to the requirements of accessibility, and all activities will be available for individuals with disabilities. A new walkway with a gradient of 1:20 is put in through the recreation area. Tactile guide lines are established where natural leading lines cannot be used.  A significant tree planting on the site reinforces the green structure in the area. The entire roof of the building is covered with sedum. A strengthened green structure has become positive for the environment. Surface water from the access- and parking zones is lead into wet ditches with vegetation. At high rainfall ditches has an overflow drain. Water from the roof and drains is led in pipes to local streams.

© Rolf Estensen

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Rommen School and Cultural Center / Østengen & Bergo AS" 02 May 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 18 Apr 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=131444>

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