Setting the Bar High for New School in Hammerfest

New Baksalen School was in the papers again recently with a positive article highlighting the design of the new school and the interactive process we recently went through with the teachers and staff in Hammerfest. The article also focused on the importance of the landscape and playground, which we are happy to colaborate on with Bjørbekk & Lindheim landscape architects. The kids are already looking forward to starting the 2017-2018 school year in their new school. 

 Everyone loves a picture of architects playing hop-scotch with the kids. (photo: Helle Østvik)

Everyone loves a picture of architects playing hop-scotch with the kids. (photo: Helle Østvik)

SPINN Partner Leif Houck to Lecture on Schools in Rome

SPINN Arkitekter have been asked to present at Sapienza University in Rome in a lecture and round table debate "Architture per la formazione" - Architecture for Education. Italy is currently implementing new school reforms, and there are heated debates about how the planned reforms will effect the design and building of new schools and educational spaces. 

Parter Leif Houck is internationally recognized for his research on school architecture, and has been asked to give two lectures, and participate in a round table discussion about the design of "the good school". Leif will present several of SPINN's own projects and discuss how lessons learned in designing Norwegian schools can relate to the reforms in Italy. We are very excited to be a part of this important discussion. 

Leif's lecture schedule:
Sept 23 at 16:10 @ Aula Piccinato, Via Flamina 70, Roma
Sept 24 at 11:10 @ Aula Magna, Piazza Borghese 9, Roma

Bjørkelangen Healthcare Facility gets green light!

SPINN Arkitekter and Architectopia delivered sketch design drawings for a new multi-purpose healthcare facility in Bjørkelangen in July 2015. The project has now been widely presented to the politicians and city staff in Aurskog-Høland Municipality with positive responses all around. 

The new "Helsehuset" in Bjørkelangen represents a new genre of healthcare facilities in Norway. Regional centers have been given increased responsibility to combine and streamline existing services into multiple-practice facilities that give the users a broader selection of services locally. Aurskog-Høland Kommune have shown their forward-thinking in the planning of the project, something which we hope will also be visible in the final product.

SPINN and Architectopia have commenced work on schematic design and will be producing tender documents for a fixed-price contract tender in early 2016. The new facility is scheduled to open in 2017. 

SPINN partner James Dodson was photographed waiting to present our scheme to the local politicians. 

HOT Hiking Cabins in the Press

In the weeks before summer, SPINN Arkitekter took the following brief from Hammerfest og Omegn Turlag (HOT) to heart and created a spectacular new destination for day-trip hiking above the arctic circle:

"We envisage a small warm space, with good windows, a wood burning stove, and simple benches placed near top, in harmony with the terrain." - HOT project brief

This weekend, HOT went public with our design in a 5 page interview in Finnmark Dagbladet. Journalist Helle Østvik calls the project "the region's toughest hiking cabin". SPINN's design includes a pair of matching cabins that will look across Hammerfest harbor from Tyven and Storfjell. 

The project is a collaboration with Format Engineers from London who contributed to the structural concept of the cabin's cross-laminated timber shell. The cabin's rounded nature-inspired shape will be divided into six-sided flat panels using specially written algorythms and parametric modeling.

We look forward to further developing the project with HOT and Format!  

 Feature article in Finnmark Dagblad by Helle Østvik.

Feature article in Finnmark Dagblad by Helle Østvik.

Groundbreaking at New Harestad School in Randaberg!

28 months after our first visit to the site, the Mayor of Randaberg, Bjørn Kahrs and the Norwegian Minister of Modernization Jan Tore Sanner broke ground with the first shovels on site of New Harestad School. Surrounded by local school children, the two popular politicians made a symbolic start to the next exciting phase of our latest school under construction. 

SPINN Arkitekter have enjoyed our collaboration with architects from Alliance Arkitekter in Oslo and Stavanger over the last two and a half years, and we look forward to keeping tabs on the construction site over the next 18 or so months. It will be exciting to see which of our new school projects are completed first, Harestad or Baksalen

  Photo Frode S. Lindboe,

Photo Frode S. Lindboe,

Teacher Workspaces 2030 - Master's Thesis Delivered!

SPINN Arkitekter partner James Dodson has completed the coursework for his Master's in Real Estate and Facilities Management at NTNU in Trondheim. His thesis delivery marked the end of a 3 year experience based program at the Centre for Real Estate and Facilities Management.

Dodson's thesis focused on teacher workspaces outside of the classroom, important areas in schools that are often under-prioritized. Nine months of reasearch and writing have resulted in important new insights into how teachers work and schools perform. This research, combined with partner Leif Houck's ongoing research in school architecture at NMBU further strengthen SPINN's position as an innovator in Norwegian school architecture. 

The paper will be published online at NTNU in the fall. The thesis abstract is reproduced below. 

The goal of this thesis is to set a greater focus and priority to teacher workspaces outside of the classroom today. In order to do this, scenario planning has been used to explore possible futures of teacher workspaces in order to examine how future needs can be planned for and implemented today. To this end quantitative research was done on teacher workspaces today, and qualitative research was done in the form of literature review, interviews and scenario planning.

The scope of the thesis is limited to Norwegian primary and secondary public schools. The focus of this thesis is teacher workspaces and support spaces used for pre- and post teaching activities outside of the classroom.

The thesis concludes that teacher workspaces of the future will require a greater variety of flexible spaces where teachers can perform the various tasks outside of the classroom that support their core operation, teaching. There should be spaces for both collaborative team-work and quiet concentrated work. A greater variety of workspace can be provided for teachers without a significant increase in total area by providing more shared-use spaces for students and teachers, such as group rooms nearby teacher workspaces that can be used as meeting rooms and collaborative spaces for teachers outside of class time. New Ways of Working or Activity Based Working are two workplace theories that could be implemented for teacher workspaces.


Helsehus Bjørkelangen - Programming and Design Workshop

SPINN Arkitekter and Architectopia conducted an internal design and programming workshop yesterday to kick off the design process for our new healthcare facility in Bjørkelangen. With a wide range of functions ranging from emergency-room to elderly housing, doctor's offices and a day center for dementia - the program is complex and exciting! Solving the complexities of the program, while also creating a site and environmentally sensitive building is the kind of task that we love. 

Architectopia presented some excellent environmental analysis of the site and we wrestled with questions about how to site the building in a way that is optimal for all the program elements.

We look forward to delivering the sketch design phase in early July. Meanwhile, back to work!

 Foam, stickies, program diagrams, 3D printed models and a lot of coffee - the makings of a great workshop.

Foam, stickies, program diagrams, 3D printed models and a lot of coffee - the makings of a great workshop.

Baksalen School contract signed. Work starts in June!

SPINN Arkitekter are super happy to announce that we have signed a contract for schematic- and detail design of New Baksalen School in Hammerfest Norway! SPINN, together with landscape architects Bjørbekk & Lindheim and pedagogical consultant Aske Beate Løtveit from Norconsult Skole were chosen for the completion of the school in an open tender procedure announced by Hammerfest Kommune. Of 12 qualified applicants, SPINN delivered the overall best offer based upon a combination of price and qualifications. The SPINN team was ranked as the best qualified and delivered the best project description, while also being competetively priced. 

We start work June 1, and look forward to a project kick-off meeting in Hammerfest under the midnight sun in mid-june! 


VIEW02-v2-photoshop DPB.jpg

Nabovarsel for Harestad skole og kulturscene (GNR 49. BNR 48.)

The following text is the neighbor announcement sent out in relation to the planning permission for Harestad Skole og Kulturscene. Therefore the text is in Norwegian. 

**NB! Nabovarsel sendt ut 24.04.05 manglet vedlegg. Derfor sendes nabovarsel ut på nytt 27.04.05.


Nabovarsel for Harestad skole og kulturscene (GNR 49. BNR 48.) 

Harestad skole har i dag rundt 700 elever, en 1-10 skole fordelt på to bygg med en ATO-avdeling og SFO. Per i dag har Harestad skole kapasitetsproblemer, spesielt på barnetrinnet. Kommunestyret i Randaberg har vedtatt å bygge en ny skole som skal erstatte eksisterende Harestad skole. Området er regulert i forbindelse med utbygging av skolen og boligområdet mot nord.

Den nye skolen er vedtatt bygget i to byggetrinn: 

1. byggetrinn (BT1): 6-parallell ungdomstrinn inkl. kulturscene, byggestart i 2015.
2. byggetrinn (BT 2): 4-parallell barnetrinn, tidspunkt for bygging ikke fastsatt.

BT1 er planlagt lengst mulig øst på tomten, slik at den midterste delen av tomten kan etableres som bygg- og anleggsområde for BT2. Dette gir størst mulig fleksibilitet og sikkerhet i forhold til fortsatt drift av skolen under bygging av BT2. Plasseringen gjør at området vest for BT1, uten store inngrep, kan benyttes som rekreasjonsområdet i mellomfasen. Når hele anlegget er ferdigstilt vil det gi området en naturlig sammenheng og aldersmessig inndeling.

Utomhusanlegget er utviklet som en offentlig tilgjengelig leke- og aktivitetsplass som kan brukes av nærmiljøet utenom skolens åpningstid. Det offentlige grøntdraget i kanten av tomten mot sør og vest rammer inn skolegården og skaper en naturlig avgrensning av skolemiljøet fra boligbebyggelsen i syd. Skolens forplass vil også fungere som et offentlig rom med tilgang til Randabergs nye storstue. Kulturscenen har et 450 seters auditorium og en scene som er beregnet for fleksibel bruk, alt fra konserter til teater. Om dagen brukes volumet som skolens kantine, om kvelden og i helgene vil det være et nytt offentlig rom i Randaberg. 

Vedlagt nabovarsel er 3 perspektivtegninger (til venstre) som viser bygningen i sine omgivelser, samt fasadetegninger. Den nye skolen er tegnet som et kompakt skolebygg over 5 etasjer med kortsiden mot naboene i sør. Undervisningsbyggets materialer er hovedsaklig tegl og glass, mens Kulturscenen er kledd med metallplater.

Hvis du har spørsmål eller kommentarer til tiltaket, ta kontakt på


Jim Dodson,                                   Marion Louise Fanebust
Partner/ Arkitekt MNAL                  Diplom Ing. Architekt HTWG
Spinn Arkitekter AS                       Alliance Arkitekter

 Klikk på bildet for å laste ned nabovarsel som .pdf

Klikk på bildet for å laste ned nabovarsel som .pdf

SPINN on Competitions

The partners and staff at SPINN Arkitekter are well versed in architectural competitions. James and Leif have both played important roles on winning teams for national and international competitions. The majority of our collective built-square-meters are the result of competition wins. Mesterfjellet School is a recent example of a competition submitted in 2011 and completed in 2014. Behind every success there are always a few projects that didn't win for one reason or another. (let's not say failures okay?) 

We look at our participation in competitions as a chance to collaborate with interesting people and try new things. We generally avoid open competitions, but can be talked into participating depending on the competition and team involved. In 2014 SPINN participated in two open competitions and one invited competition where friends and respected colleagues from as far away as Hong Kong and New York asked us to join their teams. Our role in each of these projects varied, but was more along the lines of architectural-consultant instead of lead-architect. This suited our otherwise busy workload in 2014, and allowed us to have some fun along the way.

The Guggenheim Helsinki is already known as the "largest architecture competition in the world" with 1715 entries from around the globe. Our entry, which was led by Viviano Villareal of MASS OPERATIONS in Hong Kong (formerly of OMA), Will Prince of PARC in NYC (also former OMA), and Mitchel Squires (MSA) also in Hong Kong. The design process was high-spirited and fun with a working schedule that triangulated the globe due to our 3 very different time-zones.

The green-roof for Danmark's Plass, europe's largest electric-car charging station was a project that appealed to us. We got our friends from Format Engineers and Ramboll UK excited about it as well, and then took a bit of a back seat to see what they would come up with. SPINN served as translator and local partner for their dynamic Catmull-Clark wooden-hybrid roof with Stephen Melville and John Harding doing most of the heavy lifting.

The BAN Educational Landscape masterplan was a great opportunity to work with our office-mate and collaborator Kirstin Bartels. Kirsten was invited to the competition based upon her work with the foundation “Montagstiftung” i Bonn, where she is involved in the pilot project “Schulen planen und bauen”. Kirstin and her partners at Cityförster led the design, along with landscape architect RMP Stephan Lenzen Landschaftsarchitekten. The project was awarded 3rd place in the two-phase competition with over 20 competetors involved in the first phase.

Thanks for the great collaborations, and we look forward to the exciting new projects that 2015 will bring!

Happy Holidays from SPINN!

As the holidays approach and 2014 winds to a close, SPINN Arkitekter would like to take a minute to thank our great clients, friends and collaborators for an amazing year!

2014 saw the completion of Mesterfjellet School in Larvik for Larvik Kommunale Eiendom. We watched this year as the building transformed from a busy building site to a lively 1-10 school full of excited students, hard working teachers, and a lovely principal to keep them all in order! We congratulate Buer Entreprenør on the quality work they have done, and already miss our close on-site collaboration. HUGE thanks go out to our friends at CEBRA and Østengen & Bergo Landskapsarkitekter. Without them the project would never have come about, or been the same. Thanks also to our former colleagues at Various Architects, where this all started.  

New Harestad School has progressed from schematic to detail design in 2014, with tender documents going out in early 2015. With this project, and the addition of Tilo Pfleger to SPINN we have taken BIM to another level. Thanks to a great client and project team in Randaberg and thanks for a fantastic collaboration with our colleagues at Alliance Arkitekter in Stavanger. We hope that in just 2 years time the 5'th to 10'th graders of Randaberg will enjoy their new school as much as the students in Larvik are today!

Grindbakken School in Oslo started as a minor ventilation upgrade and turned into a major refurbishment and environmental upgrade. Thanks to our client Undervisningsbygg in Oslo for renewing our framework agreement, and our collaboration with office-mates / good friends at Kontur. We look forward to continuing the project in 2015 when the contractor is on board.

Finally, we finish off 2014 with the delivery of sketch designs of a new school project above the arctic circle! New Baksalen School in Hammerfest is our first "solo" school project since SPINN was established in 2012. Thanks to our collaborators at Norconsult Bergen for their good pedagogical advice, and to ECOBIM for digital simulations of the weather on site. We are all looking forward to developing the project further in 2015.

It's been a great year for all of us at SPINN Arkitekter, and we wish you all the best for 2015.

 Happy Holidays from all of us at SPINN - Ingrid, Daniel, Tilo, Leif & James! 

New Baksalen School in Finnmark Dagblad

James Dodson presented New Baksalen School for the city council of Hammerfest on December 4th, concluding the three month sketch design phase. The project was well received and both the design and pedagogical solutions were praised by the project group.

New Baksalen School will Hammerfest's largest primary school with 2 paralell classes for grades 1-7. The sketch design also includes a multi-functional sports hall with full handball court, which can also be divided into 3.

SPINN Arkitekter revised the room program of the school together with Beate Aske Løtvedt of Norconsult in Bergen.  

SPINN Presenting at NAL Course on School Design

SPINN partners Leif Houck and James Dodson will be lecturing at the NAL course on School Design tomorrow at Arkitektens Hus in Josefinesgate. 

The course is available live, or streaming on the net via the following link:

Leif Houck will be starting off the day with an introduction to the topic and history of school design, and then following up with a lecture about his research on "Daylight in Schools"  from NMBU.

James Dodson will present Mesterfjellet School as a low-energy, hybrid-venilated school in the afternoon session.

See you there, or you can see us online!

Mesterfjellet School Opening and Road Trip

Last week SPINN Arkitekter took a study trip to visit 3 new schools on our way to the grand opening of our own Mesterfjellet School in Larvik. Our road trip took us past Hegg School in Drammen by L2 (under construction), Færder High-School in Tønsberg by White Arkitekter (completed 2014), and Haukerød School in Sandefjord by L2. 

We completed our tour at the opening ceremony for Mesterfjellet School, joined by our friends and colleagues from Cebra, Various Architcts and Østengen & Bergo Landscape Architecture. The students from the school treated the mayor, local politicians, employees, and the whole design and construction team to a wonderful performance that really showed off the school's new stage and sound equipment. 

In all my years as an architect, I think this opening was one of the most touching experiences I've ever had in a building I helped design. Seeing the kids, so proud to show off their new school, and listening to the teachers giving visitors the guided-tour - I really felt that this is a building that is going to make a difference in a lot of people's lives. Which is EXACTLY what I think Architecture should be about.

 Leif, Ingrid, Daniel and James of SPINN Arkitekter celebrating the opening.

Leif, Ingrid, Daniel and James of SPINN Arkitekter celebrating the opening.

New Baksalen School work-in-progress images

SPINN Arkitekter recently presented initial ideas for New Baksalen School to the client in Hammerfest. We've decided to share some of our work-in-progress images on the project page. Thus far the project team has focused on updating the room and function program of the school and exploring massing and siting issues of the building. The program is arranged over 5 floors to give an optimal division between school and after-school functions. All teaching and workspaces are placed to the north to give optimal daylighting and views. The building uses the steeply sloping site to create 3 separate entrances for Sports, Visitors (Main Entrance), and Students. The level 1 entrance on the north connects the multi-hall and changing rooms to the nearby track and football pitch, providing easy access to the community. The main entrance on level 2 to the east gives parents and visitors easy access from the parking lot and drop-off along the street. Students have direct access to their changing rooms from the south-facing playground, with entrances divided between 1-4th graders and 5-7th graders. 

There is still a lot of work to be done before delivery in December, and the design is bound to change as we dive deeper into the program arrangement. So far we have received positive feedback to the concept from the client and wanted to share it with you.

 James Dodson explaining the concept using a 3D printed concept model.

James Dodson explaining the concept using a 3D printed concept model.

SPINN to present at NAL course on School Design in November

SPINN Arkitekter's two partners James Dodson and Leif Houck will both be lecturing at the Norwegian Architecture League course on "School Design" on November 24, 2014.

Leif has the honor of opening the session with an "Introduction to School Design", which he will follow up with a presentation of his research into "Good Daylighting in Schools". James will present Mesterfjellet School in the afternoon session with a focus on how we achieved high energy effeciency, and a healthy interior climate with hybrid-ventilation.

Click here to sign up for the course! 


The complete program is as follows:

0830 – 0900    Registrering / kaffe

0900 – 0905    Velkommen

0905 – 0915    Introduksjon til temaet
v/ Leif Daniel Houk, arkitekt MNAL/forsker, NMBU

0915 – 0950    Godt dagslys!
v/ Leif Daniel Houk, arkitekt MNAL/forsker, NMBU

0950 – 1030    Trender i skolegården
v/Espen Evensen Reinfjord, landskapsarkitekt, Arendal

1030 – 1045    Pause

1045-1115  Skolekonkurranser – erfaringer og utfordringer 
v/Per Rygh, arkitekt MNAL, NAL

1115-1200 Skolebygg med miljøambisjon - forbildeprosjekter i FutureBuilt
Bjørnsletta (nybygg), Stasjonfjellet (rehab.) 
v/ Ulla Hahn, arkitekt MNAL, FutureBuilt
og ved representant fra Bjørnsletta/Stasjonsfjellet

1200 – 1240    Lunsj

1240-1320    Pedagogisk perspektiv på utforming av skoleanlegg 
v/ Beate Aske Løtveit, skoleutvikler, Norconsult, Bergen 

1320-1345    En inkluderende skole – plan for universell utforming
v/ Oddvin Farestveit,  arkitekt MNAL, Deltasenteret, Barne-, ungdoms- og familiedirektoratet

1345 - 1400    Pause

14.00 – 1430    A.P. Møller Schule, Schleswig-Holstein,  Sølvgade skole, København
v/ Christian Dahle, arkitekt MNAL, C.F. Møller, arkitekter, Oslo 
Tilbygg, integrasjon i byområdet, "Low energy class 2

1430 – 1445    Ringstabekk Skole i Bærum
v/ Div. A. arkitekter, Henriette Salvesen MNAL, arkitekt, Oslo
Åpen undervisningslandskap, prosess og erfaringer.

1445 – 1500    Mesterfjellet 1-10 skole og familiesenter, Larvik
v/ James Dodson, arkitekt, SPINN Arkitekter, Oslo
Et lavenergiskole med fokus på inneklima.

1500 - 1515    Spørsmål og diskusjon

1515 - 1600 Schools in Finland - Saunalahti comprehensive school, Espoo
v/ Verstas arkkitehdit, Helsinki  
Lys, integrasjon, undervisningskonsept. Estetikk og design.

1600 Slutt

Det tas forbehold om endringer i programmet.





New Baksalen School - sketch design underway!

SPINN Arkitekter have started work on the design of a new 1-7 school in Hammerfest, Norway - the northernmost city in the world! Partner James Dodson visited Hammerfest for a start-up meeting two weeks ago to meet the client and visit the site. 

The design team is working on a site massing concept for the site that will allow the existing school to remain open during the building period. We are also doing studies of the existing school to see portions of it can be re-used for other civic programs, such as a daycare. 

SPINN have teamed up with ECOBIM for climate simulation studies of the site to see the effects of wind and snow buildup on the new building. Hammerfest's windy arctic climate poses unique challenges when it comes to creating good outdoor spaces for the students. We are optimizinb our design concepts via simulation and iterative 3D modeling to explore ways to create wind-breaks and avoid unwanted snow build-up around entrances. We are also working closely with pedagogical consultant Beate Aske Løtvedt from Norconsult Bergen to control the room program and functions of the school.

More photos on the Baksalen project page

 Massing workshop @ SPINN Arkitekter. Mess = Progress!

Massing workshop @ SPINN Arkitekter. Mess = Progress!

New videos from Mesterfjellet School

Mesterfjellet School has recently opened it's doors to 530 students ranging from ages 5 to 16. Students and teachers have finally taken over the school we have been working on for years! SPINN recently found a couple of great videos on the web that do a great job of showing off the school on the web. We've also had our own photographer on site to document the building, and look forward to sharing photos from Jiri Havran soon.

"Opening Day" from NRK shows the school in full action! Dancing teachers, loads of kids on the stairs and playground. What more could an architect want than to see their building in use like this? 

Click here to see Opening Day on NRK web-tv.

Woodify, the producer of the perforated wooden panels and interior fire-treated wood has also made their own video to showcase their addition to the school. The video and stills were taken before all the furniture was moved in, but it does a great job of showing off the space and the nordic material palette of the interiors. Our goal was to have a neutral, but warm, interior that forms a backdrop for the dynamic color that the students and teachers will add to the space. There's a great contrast in the two videos that shows how well this works. Lene, project leader from Buer Entreprenør, also does a good job of explaining some of the features of the school (in norwegian).

SPINN at Universal Design 2014 in Lund, Sweden

SPINN partner Leif Houck is lecturing once again. This time at the international conference on Universal Design in Lund, Sweden UD2014. Leif is in Lund to present his recent research from the University of Life Sciences in Ås, Norway where he is an associated professor. He is also responsible for Universal Design planning and implementation on the university campus.

Leif's research paper entitled "Universal Design in School Competitions" looks at the role of Universal Design in public architectural competitions for school buildings in Norway. The objective of the study was to investigate to what degree Universal Design plays a role in Norwegian school competitions based upon the competition briefs and jury evaluations from 10 school competitions in Norway 2009-2011. The study evaluates 44 designs by 28 different offices. (abstract here).

Parner Leif Houck has also recently been asked to contribute to a revision of the norwegian building regulations on Universal Design. SPINN Arkitekter are proud to be at the forefront of Universal Design in Norway. 


 Leif Houck presenting at UD2014 in Lund, Sweden

Leif Houck presenting at UD2014 in Lund, Sweden

Mesterfjellet School Construction Complete!

Mesterfjellet 1-10 School has been delivered from the contractor to the client on time and on budget!

Friday, May 9'th James Dodson was in Larvik to accompany the client and the contractors on an inspection tour of the completed school. The official hand-off will take place one week from now, and a period of testing of the school's technical and climate-control systems will begin. The outdoor playground elements are mostly complete and will also be finished shortly together with planting of new greenery. Ahlefeldts road in front of the school, is currently being upgraded to include bike and pedestrian paths and will also be completed before summer. Furniture and other equipment deliveries will start in the next weeks. Installation of the school's 4 major art projects will take place during the summer.

The overall finish and build quality of the school is great. A calm nordic palette of whites and greys with extensive use of wood finishes creates a blank canvas for the colorful creations of the students who will move in this August. The exception being our bright magenta staircase winding up through the central space.

New photos can be found in the Mesterfjellet Construction Photos page, and two new walk-through videos have been uploaded to the Video and 360 page. Professional photos will be taken this fall just before and after school starts. We can't wait to see how the students use the spaces that we have designed for them.

 Central space and the "spanish stair"

Central space and the "spanish stair"