Voldsløkka Secondary School is a green schoolyard where vegetation is used to create sheltered areas for activities and recreation, as well as smaller spaces within the vast schoolyard. The project was finished in 2023.
Research shows that children benefit from green environments. Throughout their childhood and adolescence, they spend a significant number of hours at school, making schools crucial spaces to establish vegetation. Unfortunately, establishing vegetation in school yards in Oslo is challenging due to limited outdoor space. With this in mind, Østengen and Bergo has designed the schoolyard of Voldsløkka secondary school. We have explored new methods to create a lush schoolyard that can accommodate a large number of students in a small space while also addressing the requirements for open stormwater management and universal design.
Stormwater is directed to lower green areas (called ‘channels’) and used as a resource for vegetation. During heavy rain events, the stormwater can accumulate and form pools. The channels are partially covered with grids, allowing students to gather, socialize, and spend time on a platform above the vegetation. This design has resulted in a multifunctional school facility that is green, utilizes rainwater as a resource, provides space for activities and recreation, and offers significant spatial variety.
This innovative approach to establishing climate-adapted schoolyards could become a way to address the climate crisis, enhance student well-being, and promote biodiversity in Oslo’s schools in the future. It represents a significant contribution to climate-adapted schoolyards that foster well-being and biodiversity in areas that were previously covered with asphalt and rubber surfaces.
Landscape Architecture: Østengen & Bergo AS
Client: Oslobygg KF / Municipality of Oslo
Architect: SPINN arkitekter, KONTUR arkitekter
Contractor: Veidekke Landskap
Project location: Voldsløkka, Oslo, Norway
Year completed: 2023
Photo credits: Photos: Asak Miljøstein, Plan: Østengen & Bergo
Manufacturer of urban or play equipment: Vestre