Danish architectural practice JJW Architects has used recycled bricks and Cradle-to-Cradle certified mortar to renovate Copenhagen’s Grøndalsvængets School. Originally built in 1929, the building had long been hidden away from the surrounding neighborhood; this comprehensive transformation, completed in 2019, has now integrated the structure into the urban fabric. The school has also been expanded to support modern principles of learning and a larger educational program. 


large brick school building

The Grøndalsvængets School renovation project targeted three main objectives: an improved connection with the neighborhood, new differentiated learning environments and sustainable building practices. To better integrate the school with its surroundings, the architects first took down the tall hedge that had visually separated the school from the city. The pair of two-story buildings that were added on the outer corners of the site are topped with gabled roofs in a nod to the pitched rooflines of the area.

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kids playing soccer in grassy field
kids in gymnasium with pitched ceilings and skylights

The two new buildings were built for teaching, sports and music and are part of a greater plan to cultivate a campus-like environment within the school. In addition to the renovation of the main building, the Grøndalsvængets School’s expansion focuses on creating a flexible and differentiated learning environment that can support the needs of its students. The two new buildings were built with recycled bricks from a nearby hospital and assembled with Cradle-to-Cradle certified mortar to ensure that those bricks can be reused again in the future as part of a long-term circular economy strategy.

library inside a school building
kids on sidewalk near gardens beside a brick school building

“The old school building becomes new and the new school buildings carry on an old story from the beginning,” the architects explained in a project statement. “New and old meet each other in respect and create a school that is cohesive and interlinked with the surrounding neighborhood.”

+ JJW Architects

Photography by Torben Eskerod via JJW Architects