denmark's roskilde festival folk high school completed by MVRDV + COBE
 

denmark's roskilde festival folk high school completed by MVRDV + COBE

marking the 49th edition of roskilde music festival in july 2019, designboom was recently invited by MVRDV and COBE to visit the festival folk high school, designed on a once industrial site in denmark. inside an existing factory hall, the school along with new student housing are the final pieces of MVRDV and COBE’s rockmagneten masterplan. the project, which broke ground in early 2017, joins the adjacent ragnarock museum, inaugurated in 2016. the high school is closely linked to the world-famous roskilde music festival, which annually transforms the small town into the fourth-largest city in denmark.

 

 

the school delivers a ‘non-formal adult education,’ following the ideas of 19th-century danish intellectual N.F.S. grundtvig, who believed schools should educate their students to be active participants in society. talking to designboom on our recent trip, MVRDV founder jacob van rijs said: ‘it’s called high school but it’s actually a danish typology for education where you don’t get an exam or grades. most people do it after their high school and before university, so they’re around 18. it’s like in between leaving the house and being independent, it’s a nice in between. and they have to live inside the schools, so they come for 4 to 10 months depending on the course. most teachers are also living here and next year the high school will be 150 years old as a type.’

MVRDV COBE roskilde high school
image by ossip van duivenbode | main image by rasmus hjortshøj – COAST

 

 

designed by dutch firm MVRDV and danish practice COBE, the roskilde festival high school houses both students and teachers, promoting a total educational immersion. the project is the first purpose-built school of this type in denmark in 50 years, and aims to further the values of the roskilde festival through courses in music, media, leadership, politics, art, architecture, and design. the full plan includes the school, housed in a former concrete factory, two new blocks of student housing, a building housing the school’s staff, and a strip of adaptable shipping-container-based structures that will host an ever-changing group of innovative startups — many with connections to music and youth culture.


image by rasmus hjortshøj – COAST

 

 

discussing what is taught in the school, jacob van rijs comments, ‘and the curriculum, you can choose a certain track so you can say okay, I’m interested in making music or i’m more about philosophy. so basically, the three main pillars are the head, heart and the hands. head is for the discussion, debate, philosophy and politics. heart is the music and dancing, and hands are for the making. those are the educational principles.’


image by rasmus hjortshøj – COAST

 

 

the school itself is housed in a former concrete factory, reusing the original structure’s columns and roof but replacing the walls and interior. designed as a ‘box-in-a-box’ concept, colorful modules fill the main building’s warehouse shell, organized around a central spine which divides one side of the building from the other. alongside this route is a wooden tribune that acts as the communal heart of the school. these boxes host a variety of programs including an auditorium, music studio, workshop, and classrooms for dance, art, and architecture. these functions are arranged into three zones: some host pursuits of the mind, including writing and debate. others are performative, including dance and music functions, while the third zone hosts activities focused on the hand, including visual arts, architecture, and design.


image by rasmus hjortshøj – COAST

 

 

‘these industrial buildings, they have a lot of potential and I think by recycling buildings, it offers kind of side effects that are interesting. so here in the main space, there are the old columns of the concrete factory – the whole structure is reused. the façade is new, because we had to insulate it and everything. the roof is also new. and every box is dedicated to one activity. so the white one is the art box, and there’s the music studio, the library. every element is a space, every block has a space and activity and altogether in between you have this collective space that can be used for all kinds of things. the festival atmosphere is also important. it has to be a informal atmosphere. people have to bump into each other, so there’s no corridor space,’ explains van rijs.


image by ossip van duivenbode

 

 

intricately linked with the school itself, the festival will celebrate its 50th year in 2020, ‘roskilde is a non-profit festival. there are 100,000 tickets and 30,000 volunteers. so like the high school, the festival is a similar part of danish society, because it’s a huge festival and the country is not so big. so practically everybody that you meet here has been to the festival. and the profit they generate, they feed back to all kind of non-profit things, to sport clubs or to culture – that’s part of it. it’s like a pop up city. so they have all kinds of innovations about recycling, but also, for instance, you can you can get a better spot on the campsite if you offer something, like if give something back to the community like a pop-up library or offering some yoga in the morning,’ said van rijs.

MVRDV COBE roskilde high school
image by rasmus hjortshøj – COAST

MVRDV COBE roskilde high school
image by ossip van duivenbode

MVRDV COBE roskilde high school
image by rasmus hjortshøj – COAST

MVRDV COBE roskilde high school
image by rasmus hjortshøj – COAST

MVRDV COBE roskilde high school
image by rasmus hjortshøj – COAST

MVRDV COBE roskilde high school
image by rasmus hjortshøj – COAST

MVRDV COBE roskilde high school
image by ossip van duivenbode

 

 

project info:

 

title: roskilde festival folk high school

architects: MVRDV and COBE architects

location: roskilde, denmark

completion: february 2019

photography: ossip van duivenbode and rasmus hjortshoj

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