Shortly after completing the University of Massachusetts' Business Innovation Hub, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has gone back to school with another educational project named Glasir. The striking building hosts three different schools on a steep hillside plot overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in the Faroe Islands.
Glasir's unusual shape, which consists of five sections protruding outward from a circular courtyard, is part-inspired by the rugged landscape and is described as vortex-shaped by BIG. Grass has been planted on its roofs and will eventually grow to enable the building to better blend in with the mountainside.
"Inspired by the dramatic Faroese topography, Glasir is designed like a landscape for learning: the central space of the school is conceived as a topographical interpretation of the natural landscape – a continuous terraced terrain with steps and staircases that connect across several levels and merge the multistory building into a single entity," says BIG Founder and Creative Director Bjarke Ingels.
The glass and aluminum building has a total floorspace of 19,200 sq m (roughly 206,000 sq ft) and its interior is finished in stone, concrete and wood. Due to the steep slope of the site, the main entrance must be accessed by bridge.
Glasir's central 32 m (106 ft)-diameter indoor courtyard features steps that provide flexible spaces for students to hang out and the space is topped by a large skylight to protect against the elements and ensure ample natural light permeates within. Elsewhere, the five protruding sections of the building host three schools, as well as an administrative area and another for athletics.
The project also involved Fuglark Architects, Lemming & Eriksson, Sámal Johannesen, Martin E. Leo and KJ Elrad.
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