The School in the Isles
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In the coastal municipality of Rødøy there are 377 islanders living on eight different islands. Traditionally most of them would have their own school and function as self-sufficient communities. Today there are three schools left and children have to travel by boat every day to get to school. When a school is closed it is almost as the island gets a death sentence. This project is about re-thinking the island school in terms of form, space and community. The first condition is to regard the island school as a type. This type has to be connected to water, so the site is on a ferry quay at Gjerøy, one of the most central islands in the archipelago. Secondly it has to belong to everyone, not only the islanders of Gjerøy. In an attempt to awake a sense of ownership, it is treated as an object that is visible for everyone traveling by. Its very foundations are grounded to the seafloor, connecting it to the vast public sphere that is the ocean surface, a sphere that is shared by all islanders. There is a tradition of building structures along the fairway, structures that are both symbols of something, and have a specific function. In a symbiosis of autonomous external form and internal spaces of a trivial program, the School in the Isles appears. The main construction of the curved concrete walls retains the social spaces of the gymnasium and the kitchen on the ground floor. The spaces for learning and working are in the attic, under the big protective roof that keeps out the rough weather of the Nordland coast. Opposed to the concrete world below, the roof is a light timber structure. Openings are carefully made to let light in, but not exaggerated so that the feeling of shelter is prevailed. A bridge from the adjacent hill brings the children directly out in the schoolyard.