Our winning design for a new crafts college

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Together with MOE A/S and Kristine Jensen Landskab & Arkitektur we have won the competition to design a new crafts college in Herning, Denmark.

Standing on one of Denmark’s oldest moraine hills on the heath of central Jutland, Herning is a city with true entrepreneurial spirit. With cultural markers created by the likes of Steven Holl, Jørn Utzon and Ingvar Cronhammer, the identity of Herning has been shaped by some of the best architects, landscape architects, and artists in the world. Inspired by this long-standing focus on high quality and iconic architecture, our winning proposal for a new crafts college establishes a distinct architectural identity with its large wooden elliptical roof, connecting workshops, common rooms and living spaces.

“Good craftmanship nurtures good architecture. The craft college is an opportunity not only to cultivate a common profession but to strengthen the respect of the craft traditions and create an inspiring environment for the ambitious young people to form a community, learn from each other, and develop their talent. We wanted the building to have its own strong identity and a sustainable, flexible design that beautifully illustrates what the different traditions can create together,” says founder and creative director Dorte Mandrup. 

The college will play an important part in developing the next generation of craftspeople in Denmark. With the elliptical structure, the architectural concept emphasises the strong community between the different craft traditions and aims at strengthening knowledge sharing between them. There is 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 building is connected to the surrounding city and landscape through four large openings and the inner circular courtyard creates a new gathering place for the entire area.  

A textbook in craft disciplines
The crafts college in Herning is the BRF Foundation’s second out of three planned colleges. The first is already under construction. 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.

“Our ambition is that the colleges we build must function harmoniously within the areas they are built and contribute with new life and inspiration. I am positive that this will be the case with the college in Herning. It has been absolutely crucial that the college can become a living textbook in functional and sustainable solutions that respond to the challenges of the future and illustrate how the interaction between various professions can result in a unique construction of the highest quality both architecturally and in terms of craftmanship,” explains Kristian May, director of the BRF Foundation.

The BRF Foundation want the colleges to help strengthen the respect and positive image of the craft professions and attract more young people to the field. 

Read the entire press release here (in Danish)