Dorte Mandrup wins competition to design new college for craftmanship in Herning, Denmark. The college will play an important part in developing the next generation of craftspeople in Denmark. With an elliptical timber structure, the design emphasises the strong community between the different craft traditions and highlights the innovative force they form together.
With cultural markers created by the likes of Steven Holl, Jørn Utzon and Ingvar Cronhammar, the identity of Herning has been shaped by some of the best architects and artists in the world. Inspired by the city’s long-standing focus on high quality and iconic architecture, Dorte Mandrup’s winning proposal for a new crafts college establishes a distinct architectural character in the landscape with its large elliptical roof connecting workshops, common rooms, and living spaces.
The architectural concept is based on an ambition to strengthen knowledge sharing and community between the craft disciplines. The elliptical structure creates a natural connection between common areas, workshops, and private spaces. Workshops and shared facilities are placed side by side facing the inner circular courtyard. Studio apartments are placed in the outer periphery each with their own terrace. The large timber structure is punctuated by four openings that connect the college to the city, while the courtyard creates a new public space open to everyone.
A textbook in craft traditions
The building itself will be a living teaching tool. Attention is given to sustainable, robust, and reliable materials representing the different traditions – carpenters, masons, plumbers, pavers etc. The overall design comprises a timber construction with the wood left exposed, creating beautiful warm surfaces.
Part of the roof is covered in natural slate, which has been a tradition in Denmark since the 16th century and has unrivalled durability. The choice of natural materials and the focus on flexibility provides the building with an unpretentious and long-lasting quality that is designed to withstand use and changes several hundred years in the future.
About the craft college
The craft college in Herning is the BRF Foundation’s second of three planned craft colleges in Denmark. The first is already under construction. In Denmark there is a long and proud craft tradition. However, a decline in young people training in the craft disciplines has created a high risk of a shortage of competent craftspeople in the future. The aim of the college is to attract more young people to be trained and educated within the trade crafts. Source and images Courtesy of Dorte Mandrup.