Music-inspired high school completes in Roskilde

3 April 2019
Credit: Ossip van Duivenbode/Rasmus Hjortshøj - COAST
  • Ossip van Duivenbode/Rasmus Hjortshøj - COAST



MVRDV and COBE transform former factory hall

Construction has been completed on the Roskilde Festival Folk High School in Denmark and its accompanying student housing, designed by MVRDV in collaboration with Danish firm COBE. The firms were also responsible for the 11,000 sqm ROCKmagneten masterplan for a new youth hub, which includes the school and the rock music museum, Ragnarock, which was officially inaugurated in 2016. The hub’s outdoor space is intended as a meeting place for young people, especially during the annual Roskilde Festival, which temporarily turns the small town into Denmark’s fourth largest city. 

The Folk High School was created to further festival values through courses in music, media, leadership, politics, art, architecture, and design. “Our design, just like the school itself, was inspired by the spirit of the Roskilde Festival. It is all about music, art, activism – but most of all, freedom,” explained Jacob van Rijs, principal and co-founder of MVRDV. “The Roskilde festival combines ‘having a good time’ with innovation in an informal way, giving a special vibe that we wanted to capture in the design of the interior of the school.” 

The school is situated inside a former factory, with the designers choosing to retain the original columns and roof. The walls and interior were replaced with a colourful “box-in-a-box” concept consisting of modules arranged around a central spine, while a strip of adaptable shipping-container-based structures will host groups of start up companies, many with connections to music and youth culture.

Danish folk high schools deliver a non-formal adult education following the concept of lifelong learning. The Festival School is the first purpose-built facility of this type in Denmark in 50 years. Dan Stubbergaard, architect and founder of COBE, stated: “For me, as a former folk high school student, it was a very special task to transform a former concrete factory into a folk high school with the purpose of shaping future generations of students. By opening the building up and adding new boxes inside the old structure, we revitalise the building. A defunct industrial building has become a bustling hub for creativity and community.” 

Lucy Nordberg
TenderStream Head of Research

This competition was first published by TenderStream on 30.09.2008 here

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