Glasir – Tórshavn College Faroe Islands, BIG Education Building Project Photos

Glasir – Tórshavn College

New Education Centre Building design by BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group

19 Apr 2019

Design: BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group


Glasir - Tórshavn College, Faroe Islands building by BIG architects

Photos by Rasmus Hjortshoj

Glasir – Tórshavn College Building

Students have settled in at Glasir – Tórshavn College, a 19,200m2 (206,000ft2) vortex-shaped education center that combines three schools under one roof and celebrates the dramatic Faroese landscape.

Glasir - Tórshavn College, Faroe Islands building by BIG architects

Located on a rising hillside within earshot of the Atlantic Ocean and the verdant fells of the capital Tórshavn, Glasir fuses three schools into one – the Faroe Islands Gymnasium, Tórshavn Technical College and the Business College – serving over 1,750 students, teachers and support staff.

Glasir - Tórshavn College, Faroe Islands building by BIG architects

BIG won the initial design competition together with Fuglark Architects, Lemming & Eriksson, Sámal Johannesen, Martin E. Leo and KJ Elrad. Recently, BIG celebrated the opening of the Isenberg School of Management extension at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

“This building gives us all the conditions we need to succeed. It is now our responsibility to get as much as possible from this fantastic environment. We are certain that our new surroundings will have a great impact on how teachers will teach and how students will learn,” says Bogi Bech, CEO, Glasir.

Glasir - Tórshavn College, Faroe Islands building by BIG architects

Glasir retains the autonomy and individual identity for each of the three schools while creating ideal conditions for collaboration and learning to flourish — an incubator for innovation rather than a traditional school setting. Shaped by the internal needs of the students and teachers, Glasir is conceived as a stack of five separate levels that wrap around a central courtyard: one for each of the three institutions, one for food and faculty, and one for physical exercise and gatherings. The building is organized like a vortex, with each level opening up and the top levels radiating 30m/100ft out towards the mossy, mountainous landscape.

Glasir - Tórshavn College, Faroe Islands by BIG architects

“Inspired by the dramatic Faroese topography, Glasir is designed like a landscape for learning: the central space of the school is conceived as a topographical interpretation of the natural landscape — a continuous terraced terrain with steps and staircases that connect across several levels and merge the multistory building into a single entity,” says Bjarke Ingels, Founder & Creative Director, BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group.

Glasir - Tórshavn College, Faroe Islands building by BIG architects

The main entrance of the school is accessible from a dramatic bridge due to the steep slope of the site. Students and teachers are immediately welcomed by the large circular courtyard which creates a natural gathering point across all floor levels and academic interests.

Glasir - Tórshavn College, Faroe Islands by BIG architects

Designed as an extension and interpretation of the natural landscape, the 32m/106ft diameter indoor courtyard with terraced steps provide generous, flexible spaces for group meetings, social events and dining, as well as auditorium seating for larger announcements. Above, a large transparent skylight shelters the space from the wind and weather of the harsh Faroese climate while allowing abundant daylight into the atrium. The inner façades between the classrooms and courtyard are realized in colored glass, providing an intuitive overview of the different functions within the building.

Glasir - Tórshavn College, Faroe Islands building by BIG architects

Bjarke Ingels continues: “Each institution wraps around the space and radiates out into the landscape. In time, the autonomous parts – tailored for their respective uses – will merge into a true hybrid educational institution that doesn’t distinguish between academic and manual skills, but focuses on providing each individual with the most potent possible combo of abstract ideas and concrete skills.”

Glasir - Tórshavn College, Faroe Islands by BIG architects

Cascading across several levels, the stepped topography merges the multistory building into a single entity. At the top levels, the high school and business school cantilever towards the mountain-range and moorland landscapes, creating a building that open towards the city in all directions.

Library, technical school & gym / Images by Rasmus Hjortshoj

The outer backdrop to the stunning Faroese landscape surrounding the education center is always visible, from the courtyard and classrooms to the gymnasium and library.

The interior material selection of stone, cast concrete and wood with different surface treatments form a natural canvas, while the exterior choice of glass and aluminum creates a neutral background to the school’s sculptural design.

Glasir - Tórshavn College, Faroe Islands building by BIG architects

Seen from outside, the exterior glass façades are mounted in a sawtooth shingle that allow the straight elements to form a soft circular shape and blend into the natural surroundings. Over time, grass planted on the rooftops will slowly grow to allow the education center to disappear into the Faroese landscape.

Learn more about Glasir and many other BIG projects at our FORMGIVING exhibition at BLOX, the home of the Danish Architecture Center in Copenhagen, on view from June 12th to October 20th:

Faroe Islands Education Centre Torshavn – Building Information

SIZE: 19,200m2 / 206,000ft2LOCATION: Tórshavn, Faroe Islands
CLIENT: Mentamalaradid (Ministry of Culture) / Landswerk
COLLABORATORS: Fuglark, Lemming & Eriksson, Rosan Bosch, Samal Johannesen, Martin E. Leo SP/F, KJ Elrad Radgevandi Verkfroendingar

Glasir - Tórshavn College, Faroe Islands by BIG architects


PARTNERS-IN-CHARGE: Bjarke Ingels, Finn Nørkjær
PROJECT ARCHITECT: Ole Elkjær Larsen, Høgni Laksáfoss
TEAM: David Zahle, Boris Peianov, Camilla Luise de Andrade Stadler, Camille Crepin, Christian Alvarez, Claudio Moretti, Claus Rytter Bruun de Neergaard, Dag Præstegaard, Daniel Pihl, Dennis Rasmussen, Edouard Boisse, Elisha Nathoo, Enea Michelesio, Eskild Nordbud, Eskild Schack Pedersen, Ewelina Moszczynska, Frederik Lyng, Gaetan Brunet, Goda Luksaite, Greta Krenciute, Henrik Kania, Ioana Fartadi Scurtu, Jakob Lange, Jakob Teglgård Hansen, Jan Besikov, Jan Kudlicka, Jeppe Ecklon, Jesper Boye Andersen, Ji-Young Yoon, Johan Cool, Kamilla Heskje, Kari-Ann Petersen, Katarzyna Stachura, Katerina Joannides, Kim Christensen, Krista Meskanen, Kristoffer Negendahl, Laura Youf, Long Zuo, Maria Teresa Fernandez Rojo, Martin Cajade, Michael Schønemann Jensen, Mikkel Marcker Stubgaard, Nanna Gyldholm Møller, Niklas Rausch, Nobert Nadudvari, Oana Simionescu, Ole Dau Mortensen, Pawel Bussold, Richard Burns, Richard Howis, Rune Hansen, Sabine Kokina, Simonas Petrakas, Sofia Sofianou, Stefan Plugaru, Takumi Iwasawa, Tiago Sá, Tobias Hjortdal, Tommy Bjørnstrup, Tore Banke, Victor Bejenaru, Xiao Xuan Lu.

Faroe Islands Education Centre images / information from BIG

BIG Architects

Earlier post by e-architect of this Torshavn Education Centre building design by BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group

19 Feb 2013
Marknagil Education Center in Torshavn
Torshavn Education Centre Faroe Islands building
image courtesy of architects
Torshavn Education Centre

Location: Torshavn, Faroe Islands

Faroe Islands Architecture

Contemporary Faroes Architectural Projects, alphabetical:

Faroe Islands Architecture Designs – chronological list

Eysturkommuna Town Hall
Architects: Henning Larsen
Eysturkommuna Town Hall on the Faroe Islands
photo : Nic Lehoux
Eysturkommuna Town Hall

Klaksvík Design Competition
Faroe Islands landscape
picture from organiser
Faroe Islands Architecture

Klaksvík City Center Design

Bjarkes Ingels Group

Comments / photos for the Glasir – Tórshavn College, Faroe Islands Architecture design by BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group page welcome.

Website: Glasir, Tórshavn College – Faroe Islands