Pioneering school puts sustainability first

Situated in a rural forest in Norway, the new Torvbråten primary school has become Norway’s second school to achieve the highly-regarded Nordic Swan Eco-label, which is awarded for best practice in environmental of products and developments. Designed by Link Arkitektur, the pioneering school where pupils can both learn in and learn from, was developed to inspire curiosity for sustainable design and materials from the start of a child’s development.

Global leader in the production of sustainably modified wood, Kebony, was selected to clad the exterior of the building due to its strong environmental credentials and striking aesthetic quality. The school, which was designed as a passive house building, is also equipped with 800 solar cells and energy wells (geothermal heating) which supply the building with waterborne heat in all floors, while 97% of construction waste was sorted at source.

With a gross area of 6,700m², the school caters to 470 students and 46 permanent employees and consists of two wings and a multi-purpose hall. Large-scale glass windows create a flow of daylight inside and foster an important connection with the surrounding natural landscape forest, which provides a natural home for an array of outdoor activities, including a mountain bike track and a light trail for skiing and walking to benefit the pupils as well as the local community.

The special building is now being used as a learning centre where environmentally-sound practices form a key part of education and learning.

Developed in Norway, Kebony’s revolutionary technology is an environmentally friendly process which modifies sustainably sourced softwoods by heating the wood with furfuryl alcohol – an agricultural by-product. By polymerising the wood’s cell wall, the softwoods permanently take on the attributes of tropical hardwood including high durability, hardness, and dimensional stability. Kebony’s uniquely natural aesthetic, durability and sustainable credentials were perfectly suited to complete the ambitious school project in Norway.

Commenting on the project, Link Arkitektur said:

“It is wonderful to be a part of this special school which instils the importance of sustainability from an early age. We are so proud to have achieved the Swan Eco-Label for this exceptional project, which wouldn’t have been possible without the use of innovative materials like Kebony.”

Nina Landbø, International Sales Manager Norway at Kebony added:

“We are delighted to have contributed to this beautiful school in Norway and are excited to visit the project as the Kebony wood develops and ages with the beautiful surrounding landscape.”