Evenes is a small community in Ofoten in Northern Norway. The municipality had decided to merge two smaller schools into one large school at Liland, and at the same time create a new local arena which would stimulate growth in the community.  They organized an architectural design competition which we, MDH architects, won.

Studio Name:  MDH Architects
Design Team: Minna Riska, Dagfinn Sagen, Helge Lunder, Sigbjørn Willemsen, Alvar Aronija, Anni Peljo, Nina Follo
Area: 2900m2
Year: 2017-2021
Location: Evenes, Ofoten, Norway
Client: Evenes Municipality
Entrepreneur: PEAB Bjørn Bygg
Photography Credits: MDH Architects +
Landscape architect: MASU Planning

Evenes School by MDH Architects - Sheet3
©MDH Architects +

The main challenge in the brief was to re-use the existing main school building and maintain operations in this structure while the new part of the school was under construction, thereby avoiding the use of temporary classroom structures. This premise yielded both cost-savings in the project budget and contributed to an environmentally sustainable strategy.

At the time we had just finished our first project in CLT – the MOHOLT student towers –  and we presented the benefits of building in wood to the client. They were thrilled by the idea of building a school, a multipurpose hall and a swimming pool in wood, as the use of CLT in new buildings is one of the most efficient ways to lower CO2 emissions in the building industry.

Evenes School by MDH Architects - Sheet5
©MDH Architects +

The project also has a socially sustainable ambition by aiming to offer new public arenas for the community while boosting the attractiveness of Evenes to new inhabitants. The project is not just a school facility, but the school spaces can also host activities for the entire community. The auditorium in the school has already been used for films evenings, church services, and gymnastics lessons.

Evenes School by MDH Architects - Sheet8
©MDH Architects +

The auditorium connects the new and the old buildings. We wanted the space to be transparent, – inviting visitors into the heart of the school. The rest of the school volume wraps around the outdoor area to provide shelter from the cold winter winds and creates a protected schoolyard. The loadbearing structure, interior walls, ceilings and facades are made of wood. The extensive use of wood contributes to good room acoustics, good hygroscopic qualities, and durable maintenance friendly surfaces. The school and hall are heated with solar- and geothermal energy.

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