Honor - SCUP Excellence in Architecture for a New Building

Glasir Tórshavn College

Glasir Tórshavn College - Glasir
Jury Comments
“. . . phenomenal space to be educated in . . . iconic building innovatively organized around a central commons enabling identity for three different schools in one building . . . takes its site as inspiration with 360-degree views of the stunning landscape . . . rises to the challenges of complex site and construction methods . . . inspiring . . .”


    • Size – 206,667 sq ft
    • The inner façades between the classrooms and courtyard are realized in colored glass, providing an intuitive overview of which functions go where.
    • Due to the steep slope of the site, the school is accessed on the middle floor via a bridge.
    • Apart from the steep slope, the site is completely free from constraints with uninterrupted views of the city, sea, and fjords. Classrooms are constructed around the wide balconies to the outside walls of the building and are transparent towards the balconies, with transparency promoted as part of the pupils’ education.
    • Due to long, cold winters and long transportation distances in sparsely populated regions, planning for the construction phases of Glasir in tandem to the changing environmental conditions was paramount.


Glasir enlarges the educational capacity on the Faroe Islands with a building that merges a technical school, a business school, and a high school into an integrated educational facility. The headmasters of the three schools preferred retaining their autonomy despite being merged. The challenge was how to retain the autonomy of each school while ensuring the future fusion of facilities and faculty. The school is conceived as a pedagogical diagram turned into a building, shaped by the considerations to the internal functional needs rather than external limitations. A stack of five individual buildings wrap around a central public space: three buildings for each of the three specialties (each with their own unique floor plan), another for food and faculty, and one more for physical exercise and gatherings.

Each floor has its own common living room with direct access to the ground or to terraces that naturally connect both to the spiral winding main staircase and to the floor’s walkways. The training center opens outwards toward the surrounding city and the landscape in a centripetal movement of outward functions. Each floor opens its circular stroke and allows a number of subject areas to continue out of the closed form. Each individual floor opens to a special direction, which means that a walk along the collecting staircase will give varying views.

The round shape of Glasir is built up with a number of identical concrete elements and stabilized with five stairwells. The wings that extend from the round construction are held up by steel trusses. The central courtyard has gigantic transparent skylights that shelter the atrium from the wind and weather while allowing for abundant light and space.

Project Team

BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group; also Fuglark; Lemming & Eriksson; Samal Johannesen; Martin E. Leo SP/F; KJ Elrad Radgevandi Verkfroedingar; Henrik Rømer Kania