Westerdals School of Communication
The building is situated at Vulkan - an old industrial area next to Oslo's picturesque Aker's river and popular public space Kuba.
Conceived as a “square peg in a square hole”, the footprint of the building volume is smaller than the perimeter of its basement. The glazed gap surrounding the volume at ground floor level creates a dynamic subterranean space. While light is absorbed into this space during the daytime it is likewise released at night; thus creating an object which is literally “vibrating” in its own space.
Openness, accessibility and visibility are important values for Westerdals. Generous entrances and an open plan on the ground floor invite the public in. Ground floor houses the reception, a small mediatheque, a student café - open to the public with outdoor seating by the Aker’s river - and a multipurpose area fit for exhibitions, parties or informal workstations.
The glazed gap surrounding the building makes it possible to utilize the basement for educational purposes. At the same time it presents visitors with a sneak peek at the student activities below, projecting some of the dynamic energy of school out into the urban context.
The school teaches a variety of different subjects; Art Direction, Graphic Design, Film and Television, Script Writing and Event Production – all subjects with different spatial demands. The basement houses the lager functions - workshops and the 1:1 mock-up-area as well as a 180 seat auditorium. Level 3 and 4 houses the more regular teaching areas - 8 classrooms and several small studios for video editing and sound mixing. The remaining areas are fitted with an open landscape of work stations for group assignments and project based working. Level 2 is reserved for administration and teachers work stations.
The dark exterior facades are constructed as a ventilated rainscreen cladding system with a dark grey seamless render finish. The use of the dark render is intended to contrast the light beaming form the window openings – projecting the student activities to the surrounding city. The interior walls and floors of the basement are painted bright yellow underlining contrast to the dark rendered volume hovering above.