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Historical building becomes Stockholm’s huge new senior high school

Ämbetsmannahuset – roughly translated as The Public Servants’ Building – is a 23,000 square meter (247,570 sq. ft.) building from 1923, located in central Stockholm and previously home to various government agencies. It has undergone extensive renovation, and from the fall term of 2018 it has housed Stockholm’s largest senior high school, with space for some 2,300 students.

The building was previously the head office of the Stockholm County Administrative Board. In 2015 that organization moved into new premises, and the property was sold via Vasakronan to the developers Oscar Properties and Fastighets AB Balder.

Due to the need for places for senior high school students in Stockholm’s inner city, Forsen Projekt Holding AB was asked to conduct a preliminary study of whether the premises were suitable for a school. They investigated the possibility of renovating the classic office building, and found that it was an excellent candidate. Briab was involved in the project as fire protection consultants while other solutions like housing and hotels were being discussed – before the school idea emerged.

Crowd Management

The Project

Turning an office building into a school requires some serious interventions. Here, the building’s structure and how people move through it have been retained. However almost all the divisions between rooms have been changed. Forsen managed the renovation as a CM project, which means that design and production took place in parallel.

Anna Whitlock Senior Secondary School – a palace of knowledge for the 21st century.

The school has been named after Anna Whitlock (1852–1930), a trained teacher, suffragette, feminist and educational reformer. She started a number of her own schools, including the Whitlock Co-educational School. Co-educational meant here that boys and girls studied together, and could take the same subjects. Anna Whitlock also introduced sex education in the school, and was a leader of the National Association for Women’s Suffrage. In August of 2018 the new school opened, where work will continue in Anna Whitlock’s spirit. Students and teachers will use science, esthetics and digital technology to investigate how the sustainable society of the future can be created. An interesting detail is that the colors in the various storeys of the building are inspired by the public officers who worked there. For instance, one storey will be painted in lightning blue, in honor of the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute.

Briab’s job:

Briab’s fire protection engineers worked with the project from the concept stage until occupation. The job of implementing modern-day fire protection requirements in a century-old building in central Stockholm brought a number of challenges, where solutions were adjusted and customized when new situations arose.

“Although the basic preconditions were in place, the building was not built for or adapted to use as a senior high school, and we had to work together with the other designers to be solution-oriented and flexible, in order to be able to retain and use all the qualities of the building,” says Briab’s Andreas Ljungberg, who led the work together with Caroline Abrahamsson.

“Of course, there were also challenges with realizing the school’s demands for a modern and safe school, and with creating a safe construction site in central Stockholm,” Caroline Abrahamsson adds.

A library on two levels, an archive in the basement and a school cafeteria that can be used for other purposes are examples of functions in the building where extra energy was put into good and flexible fire protection. As the project proceeded, several of Briab’s experts were involved in achieving good solutions for ventilation fire protection, fire alarm systems, structural elements and not least, the fire protection during the construction period.

“It was a challenging and enjoyable project, where the results turned out great. This is evident especially in the high number of applications to the school,” Andreas says.

 

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