Salpausselkä School, Lahti, Finland

The site

There are 550 pupils at Salpausselkä School. The school staff played a key and active role in the school design process. The teaching staff jointly defined the functional objectives for the learning environments and the interior design guidelines that covered the lobbies, offices, staff facilities, meeting rooms, offices and the dining hall. The teachers wanted to have a colourful, happy environment, which is nicely reflected throughout the school. The backbone of the design consists of five main colour themes that are repeated in different rooms and spaces. All corridors are painted the primary colours, which also help students find their way around the school building.

The solution

One of the design targets was that when students move from one subject to another, the look and feel of the classroom would changes as well. In this way, the environment gives a visual clue that there is something new coming up, and a change in the physical learning environment offers inspiration to take up a new subject. The material choices of furniture were also carefully considered. For example, the tabletops in the school’s physics and chemistry classrooms are made of a special laminate that is more resistant to chemicals, and the upholstery of chairs was chosen to suit laboratory environments.

The target was to make the teachers’ lounge a multifunctional room for work and relaxation. Even a large communal space can lend itself to the needs of many types of work when it is divided into different functional zones with clever grouping of different furniture.

The result is lively and happy, reflecting the school culture that highlights active participation. The facilities serve the fundamental task of the school well.