Connected with Egil Jacobsen, Head of Department for Languages and Literature, at Glasir
The new Glasir Education Centre is the largest ever project built on the Faroe Islands and is not only a striking construction but also a symbol for a whole new idea of education.
Designed by the Danish architects Bjarke Ingels Group and Faroe Islands architects Fuglark, the project has taken exactly 10 years to materialize from when it was approved by the Government in 2008. It is situated on a hillside on the outskirts of Torshavn, to serve as a base for coordination and future development of all educational programmes in the region.
As the largest educational building project in the country’s history, the institution combines Faroe Islands Gymnasium, Torshavns Technical College and Business College of Faroe Islands in one building, housing 1.200 students and 300 teachers.
The location of the building is 100 m above the sea level with a panoramic view overlooking the sea, mountains and harbor of Torshavn. The structure is of circular shape consisting of 5 floors, connected with staircases. A big auditorium and workshops for the business college ad a sense of wider community among the different school types in the building. Pupils shall not be separated in their type of school, but learn what other young people of the same age are doing – and learn to respect different educations and ways of life.
“The project is designed as a vortex, radiating out towards its surroundings while at the same time focusing in on the school’s inner landscape for learning the lessons of life. Each institution is organized as a school in a school with ideal conditions for each, while creating a sense of community for learning and life”. (Taken from the architects website) The whole awesome building seems to embrace and invite to the pleasure of learning and interaction!
Egil Jacobsen is one of the teachers in Glasir and kindly giving us a tour around the building. When entering and walking around the bright space, you can feel this particular aura of “learning with joy”. On all the 5 floors, pupils are sitting in groups, alone or in pairs, in what seems intensive discussions or working groups. The space allows any individual learning experiences – high tables and chairs, steps with pillows to sit on, lounging areas, sitting bags and also some regular chairs and tables – the pupils choose their favorite surrounding for their work. It is amazing that there is no sense of flippancy involved – all the little groups seem to be focused and wholeheartedly absorbed in whatever they were dealing with. They look relaxed and happy in what they do. In a school! The building and the concept seem to encourage a different perception of what used to be a more gravity involving period in the life of young people before!
In the meeting industry we talk a lot about new formats of meetings and interaction – a visit in the Glasir College proves firsthand how well these concepts work and what co-working and co-learning can look like large scale! It would be the perfect place for a big conference with the latest in break-outs!
Classrooms are constructed around the wide balconies to the outside walls of the building and are transparent towards the balconies. It feels a bit odd in the beginning to walk around and look, but the staff and the teachers were told that they must not tiptoe around – transparency is part of the pupils’ education! Despite it is only open since August 2018 the system seems to work quite smoothly already.
The word “Glasir“ in old Norse mythology means a tree or a grove – “the most beautiful among gods and men” – outside the Valhalla. Isn’t that a wonderful choice of name to give a school where young kids can flourish and grow!
For many years Egil Jacobsen is a teacher in English and Sports in the Faroe Islands and Denmark. Now Head of Department for Languages and Literature in the new education centre, as Glasir has merged from three units into one large entity with ca. 1500 students and 250 employees.
tmf dialogue marketing – We point out the areas in which the Faroe Islands have excellent business expertise or apply innovative concepts in public or business communities – to connect with similar projects or knowledge clusters around the world. We want the world to come to the Faroe Islands and network on all projects that are introduced here – for more check https://www.tmf-dialogue.net/category/smart-congress