Roskilde Festival Folk High School

cobe roskilde festival hojskole exterior cobe roskilde festival hojskole interior kids
Making room
for creativity

Year: First prize in competition 2011, completed 2019

Client: Bygningsfonden Roskilde Festival Højskole and the client consortium consisting of the City of Roskilde, Realdania, Roskilde Festival Group, A.P. Møller og Hustru Chastine Mc-Kinney Møllers Fond til Almene Formål, Knud Højgaards Fond and Tuborgfondet

Program: Folk High School, students’ dwellings, teachers’ dwellings and offices

Size: Folk high school 2.980 m², student and teachers’ dwellings 2.598 m²

Roskilde Festival Folk High School is the first newly established and built general folk high school in Denmark in 50 years. It is situated in Hall 10, a former production hall for the Danish concrete manufacturer Unicon, in the creative district Musicon in the city of Roskilde and neighbour to Ragnarock – Museum for Pop, Rock and Youth Culture. The new 5,578-m2 learning facility offers students and teachers a setting for creative projects based on voluntary engagement, a humanitarian focus, creativity and social entrepreneurship – the same ideals as the annual music event the Roskilde Festival. The repurposed concrete shell, which was originally a single open space, forms a robust counterpoint to 16 individually colored “village” boxes that give rise to a sheltered environment in between them; a learning landscape for experiments with urban social engagement. The boxes contain a variety of functions, such as workshops for the school’s art courses, stages, music studios, a dance hall, classrooms, a staff room and a lecture hall with a capacity of 150.

cobe roskilde festival hojskole before
cobe roskilde festival hojskole before
cobe roskilde festival hojskole before

Before the refurbishment, the warehouses were worn, rough and run-down.

From concrete
factory to creative
learning space
cobe roskilde festival hojskole before
cobe roskilde festival hojskole before
cobe roskilde festival hojskole before

The Unicon area – a former concrete factory – has a characteristic raw concrete expression. Utilizing the durability of the existing structures while being aware of the environmental challenges of producing new concrete, it was a premise for the design to reuse as much of the existing structure as possible.

cobe roskilde festival hojskole musicon
cobe roskilde festival hojskole musicon
cobe roskilde festival hojskole musicon
cobe roskilde festival hojskole musicon

After the concrete production was terminated, the robust concrete halls of Unicon have taked on many new functions. The flexible and heavy-duty concrete post-and-beam structure has served as a setting for cultural events and urban sports, a living laboratory for the future culture and knowledge-driven district of Musicon.

The restoration of the former factory hall has preserved the existing raw concrete girders and pillars as relics of the past production era, while daylight has been let in with the addition of large windows throughout the hall.

cobe roskilde festival hojskole diagram

The existing hall.

cobe roskilde festival hojskole diagram

The existing raw concrete girders and pillars are maintained.

cobe roskilde festival hojskole diagram

Creating a new skin with openings.

cobe roskilde festival hojskole interior
Bringing new and
old together
cobe roskilde festival hojskole diagram

Dividing up the program.

cobe roskilde festival hojskole diagram

Adding new boxes with new programs.

cobe roskilde festival hojskole diagram

In-between space becomes common space.

The hall, which was originally a single open space, today houses 16 large boxes in different colours and materials inspired by the neighbouring, world-famous Roskilde Music Festival. The boxes contain a variety of functions, including workshops for the school’s art courses, stages, music studios, dance hall, classrooms, staff room and a lecture hall.

cobe roskilde festival hojskole interior stairs
cobe roskilde festival hojskole interior

By retaining the hall’s industrial identity and repurposing the durable concrete structure of Musicon, the solution preserves the heritage while minimizing the CO2 footprint.

cobe roskilde festival hojskole interior yellow
cobe roskilde festival hojskole interior

The space in between the colourful boxes that house functions such as music room, wood workshop and studio, forms a central spine, extending from one side of the building to the other. Along this route lies a wooden platform that acts as the school’s communal heart.

cobe roskilde festival hojskole interior kids
cobe roskilde festival hojskole interior
Manifesting the
colourful universe
of Roskilde Festival
cobe roskilde festival hojskole collage

The design of the school is inspired by the spirit of the Roskilde Festival, where music, art activism and freedom are key concepts. The informal vibe of the festival is mirrored in the interior design of the school.

cobe roskilde festival hojskole crowd

Hall 10 with its robust and simple framework appeals to the creative power of the students. The 16 new boxes installed inside the hall act as counterpoints to the rough industrial expression of the former concrete factory, but the balance between new and old, high and low preserves the industrial expression.

cobe roskilde festival hojskole diagram
cobe roskilde festival hojskole interior pingpong
cobe roskilde festival hojskole interior

One of the boxes hosts a 150-capacity auditorium, named the Orange Stage in a nod to the main stage of the Festival.

cobe roskilde festival hojskole interior red
cobe roskilde festival hojskole interior red

Warm materials, such as plywood, lend a natural feel to the interior, which is enhanced by the contrast to the more industrial materials, such as concrete, glass and anodized steel in different shades.

cobe roskilde festival hojskole instruments
cobe roskilde festival hojskole wood

Each box is designed as a distinct space that provides an optimal setting for the students to engage in the individual subjects, such as workshops for the school’s art courses, stages, music studios, dance hall, classrooms and a staff room.

cobe roskilde festival hojskole classroom
cobe roskilde festival hojskole paintings

Next to the Roskilde Festival Folk High School are two blocks of student housing constructed as stacked modules with sinusoidal and trapezoidal metal cladding that has clear references to the area’s history as an industrial production area.

cobe roskilde festival hojskole exterior
cobe roskilde festival hojskole structure
cobe roskilde festival hojskole exterior colors
cobe roskilde festival hojskole exterior colors

Location: Roskilde, Denmark

Client: Bygningsfonden Roskilde Festival Højskole and the client consortium consisting of the City of Roskilde, Realdania, Roskilde Festival Group, A.P. Møller og Hustru Chastine Mc-Kinney Møllers Fond til Almene Formål, Knud Højgaards Fond and Tuborgfondet

Program: Folk High School, students’ dwellings, teachers’ dwellings and offices

Size: Folk high school 2.980 m², student and teachers’ dwellings 2.598 m²

Year: First prize in competition 2011, completed 2019

Collaborators: MVRDV, LIW Planning, Kragh & Berglund, Norconsult, Gade & Mortensen, Transsolar, Alectia, B. Nygaard Sørensen, Scandibyg

Awards: German Design Award 2020, ArchDaily Building of the Year Awards 2020 Finalist, Årets Byggeri Foreningen for Bygnings- og Landskabskultur i Roskilde

Team Cobe: Anis Souissi, Bart Smets, Caroline Krogh Andersen, Christian Sander, Clement Bue Maali, Dan Stubbergaard, Eik Bjerregaard, Jens Kert Wagner, Jonas Snedevind Nielsen, Mads Lützen, Marianne Filtenborg, Mikkel Reedz Morris, Milan Milenkovski, Morten Andersen, Simon Engberg Christensen, Sonia Bom, Thomas Krarup.

Team MVRDV: Jacob van Rijs, Fokke Moerel, Aser Giménez Ortega, Julius Kirchert, Samuel Delgado, Mette Rasmussen, Emilie Koch, Mateusz Wojcieszek, Gerard Heerink, Andrei Docu Predescu, Kalina Pilat, Klara Andersson, Klaas Hofman, Sara Bjelke, Rune Veile, Francesca Becchi, Nas Alkhaldi, Sara Impera

Photographer: Rasmus Hjortshøj – COAST, Ossip van Duivenbode

Image credits: Please note that we have used a small number of images for which the copyright holders could not be identified. In these cases it has been our assumption that such images belong to the public domain. If you claim ownership of any of the images presented and have not been properly identified, please notify Cobe and we will make a formal acknowledgement.