Mass Timber in Educational Facilities

Enhancing Learning Environments with Sustainable Design

Used in educational buildings, mass-timber structures serve two important goals – the creation of sustainable construction and proving to students that a healthier and cleaner future is possible. There are numerous advantages that mass timber offers as the structural material in school buildings, and we name those benefits as the most valuable:

  1. Creation of warm, welcoming, and healthy spaces: The presence of wood, its colors, and even its smell make it one of the most beautiful materials increasingly sought after by investors. Diffused natural light additionally accentuates the beauty of the natural material.
  2. Combination with biophilic design and green solutions: It has been scientifically proven that the presence of greenery in close proximity to children positively affects their mental health development. It is also quite easy to incorporate biophilic design, such as green indoor and outdoor walls, green roofs, and indoor trees and bushes, to meet sustainable demands.
  3. Allows the creation of spacious areas in the building, such as atriums, which enhances the dynamics and multi-use of interiors dedicated to children and their diverse activities. Large windows are often used within mass-timber buildings to connect the interior space with the green outdoor surroundings, creating a visual connection with nature.
  4. Mass-timber elements like CLT panels, glulam, and LVL allow for creative responses to different types of spaces – classrooms, sports facilities, common areas, even amphitheaters, stairs – all aimed at providing a functional and exciting environment for gaining knowledge.

In today’s world, which is fighting the climate crisis and transitioning toward a circular economy, it is important to note that mass-timber structures are highly sustainable, easily transformed and renovated when necessary, and demountable, which makes them recyclable and circular. Construction waste is thus minimized. It is possible to quantify the CO2 stored and emitted during construction works, and from our experience, mass-timber structures absorb more CO2 than they emit!

Our Educational Facilities Projects

So far, our team has designed mass-timber structures for educational buildings of various scales, from kindergartens to university buildings.

Risvollan Barnehage Kindergarten

This building is centered around a large common area for play. CLT panels were used for walls and the elevator shaft, while glulam elements were used for columns. The large common space in the heart of the building is visually connected with the outdoor space, allowing children to enjoy their play surrounded by nature and the beauty of its seasonal changes.

Emma Hjorth School Building 

This is a current project we are working on. We are delighted to be a part of bringing this building to life by designing its structure. The school building and its sports hall are designed to blend in with their natural surroundings, covered with bricks in a natural stone color. The building has a unique form with a large inclined roof, and we enjoy taking on the creative structural challenges of each detail.

KF School 

This large multi-story structure consists of four buildings designed with CLT panels as the major structural element. Its most interesting feature is the atrium, which allows natural light to enter the interior space through large windows, merging the indoors and outdoors.

The extension of the building of Technical Faculties

This pioneering project was made in collaboration with the local architecture studio Zabriskie. The structure is designed as a hybrid, using concrete and timber elements, resulting in a light and modern building that offers new value to its surroundings – aesthetically, with warm wooden surfaces defining spaces, and sustainably, with a green roof and PV panels as a sustainable antidote to pollution, aiming to positively impact the environment. .

Through our dedication to sustainable construction practices and the utilization of mass timber, we are not only constructing buildings, but also fostering a deep appreciation for nature and sustainability within the educational community. By instilling these values in the minds of students, we are empowering them to become future advocates for a greener and more sustainable world. We are excited to embark on new educational facility projects, where we can continue to blend architectural excellence, sustainable design, and a passion for nurturing the next generation of environmentally conscious individuals. 

Together, let us build a brighter future for education and the planet.