Bordings Independent School … Dorte Mandrup


In this series of posts about modern cladding, Bordings Independent School by the architectural studio of Dorte Mandrup might appear to be an odd building to include. Completed in 2008, the new addition to existing school buildings is a relatively conventional design using reclaimed brick for its long north and south walls and with glazed ends to bring light into what are ostensibly large open spaces on two main floors but also with a large basement space. 

Although the east end of the building, with a broad flight of steps down to the basement looks into the narrow courtyard of the school, the west end faces onto the pavement and traffic of Øster Søgade, with views across the road to trees and the lake of Sortedams Sø beyond. With what are actually glass walls at each end of the new block, and with undivided spaces, so no cross walls, there are views through from the north-facing courtyard to the trees and the lake to make the courtyard as open and as light as possible. 

The new building is against the north boundary of the plot and is set parallel to an earlier brick-built gymnasium to the south and the gap between the two is a main entrance into the school courtyard. Across the end of the range, and also forming school gates, is a steel structure covered in sheets of Corten pierced with tightly-spaced holes to create a screen. This provides privacy for pupils inside, so people walking by on the pavement see less clearly what is happening inside the building, but during the day, particularly in brighter sunlight, the screen is relatively transparent, and lets through light and allows a view out to the trees along the lake edge and the water of the lake. At night the visual effect reverses with the interior revealed by internal lighting. In effect, the structure is part screen, part verandah, part summerhouse grotto and part factory gate. 

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