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Powerhouse Drøbak Montessori school

The design arises from the energy concept, the qualities of the site and the Montessori education principles, in addition to a strict financial scope. The architecture is intended as a social and educational tool, built around the Powerhouse concept as the central design element.

A multi-disciplinary team was established from day one, working out the plans for how the world’s first Powerhouse school could be realised. Teachers, students, school and foundation management, and the entire professional community needed to optimise the technical solutions, were gathered around the drawing table. Together, they found solutions which are in harmony with the Montessori education method, while also taking the environment into account.

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The school has around 900 square metres of heated space organised on one storey, in addition to a lower storey under the parts of the building where there is a natural decline in the ground. The energy need constitutes less than a fourth of the usual level for schools of the same size. The building will produce 30,500 kWh through generation of solar electricity.

The body of the building is intersected by an angular plate, a so-called “solar plate.” The solar plate collects fresh air and uses the stack effect to lead the extract air out. To achieve maximum effect of the solar cells, the solar plate is orientated directly towards the south with a 33-degree incline. The solar plate also creates social and educational arenas in the form of outside and inside amphitheaters and stairs which govern the school’s spacial organisation and logic. The solutions for heating, cooling and ventilation are based on the principles used at Powerhouse Kjørbo, but have been further developed and optimalised with a view to the function and cost of the building. The total cost of the building, including engineering, is NOK 27.5 million.


Location: Drøbak
Building type: School
Area 886 mGIA
The building’s own energy generation: Appr. 30,500 kWh per year
Supplied energy, including equipment: Appr. 28,000 kWh per year
Building owner: Drøbak Montessori foundation
Architects: Snøhetta
Entrepreneur: Skanska

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