After much planning our tour group gathered together for dinner last night at a restaurant in downtown Copenhagen (CPH) run by a young Australian guy. It was the first opportunity for us all to meet and start the getting-to-know-you process, as we travel together for the next two weeks.
The morning started with a good walk across town to the Hub CPH. There was plenty of time to chat along the way as we joined in the morning commute, trying to remember to stay out of the bike lanes. CPH is a beautiful city.
The Hub movement – Where change goes to work – is a worldwide community of co-working and event spaces for entrepreneurs and change-makers. Laura, our host, showed us around explaining the use of the different areas and the aims of the Hub.
Unless you come along on this kind of trip you don’t know what you don’t know.
Our group is comprised of educational leaders – principals, a board chair, school systems leaders and facility planners, from NSW, Qld, SA and ACT – grappling with questions like:
How do we continue to engage students? They start off keen in the early years and then this deteriorates.
Can we help teachers not to revert to the industrial model in new spaces?
What is the resource centre for schools today?
What are the design challenges to incorporate into new schools?
How do we make collaboration the default, not the control model?
Can space lead to better pedagogy?
Can we invest in new ways of teaching and maintain academic standards?
What common language do you need to create the culture you want?
What do you need to do for every student to have an equal user experience at school?
And challenging the group with: What do we really believe about change?
From there we started the educational adventure.
The interesting feature about Maglegard is the grouping of three grades in the one home space – 75 children, with 5 teachers. They start the morning altogether as a community, then use the entire space as a learning area. The ‘classroom’ spaces are small – instruction is limited to around 15 minutes, then
each child goes to a shared work area. Every student has their own plan, in their own portfolio.
This was my second visit to this school and I enjoyed the openness and friendliness of the students as they shared their work with me. Also, the communal area of the space, with the kitchen the sofas and the fish tank made it feel like home.
Architecturally, Orestad Gymnasium is impressive. This school is now five years old and is renowned for its outstanding design. A central spiral staircase forms the heart of the vertically designed senior high school.
Everyone can see everyone.
We were hosted by two students, Christoffer and Nikita. Their honest and candid reflections were helpful. The school is open and spaces are bookable as needed. There are closed off classrooms where learning lectures are held, but these students prefer the collaborative approaches. Only 20% of their learning time is in lecture format.
And in between… Lunch at a most amazing building.
We stopped for lunch in the Orestad precinct at a uniquely designed housing and business development – 8 House.
The bowtie-shaped 61,000 sqm mixed-use building of three different types of residential housing and 10,000 sqm of retail and offices comprises Denmark’s largest private development ever undertaken…the 8 House stacks all ingredients of a lively urban neighbourhood into horizontal layers of typologies connected by a continuous promenade and cycling path up to the 10th floor creating a three-dimensional urban neighbourhood where suburban life merges with the energy of a city, where business and housing co-exist.