A.P. Møller School

Updated 23.03.20 |
Signe Moeslund Mains

Photo Credit: Poul Ib Henriksen

The A.P. Møller School offers education to the Danish minority in Schleswig from grade 7 to the final year of upper secondary school. Students and teachers at the school experience how the physical environment is decisive for their everyday well-being. The school is designed by architectural firm C.F. Møller.

“During the first school year, we noticed that the academic level of many of the students increased significantly. The building layout and the options for flexible learning it embodies play a crucial role in making the students more motivated, perform above expectations and strive for a longer school life.” Jørgen Kühl, Principal, A.P Møller School 

Learning & Quality of Life

In an interview with the A.P. Møller Foundation from 2013, the school’s principal, Jørgen Kühl, describes how the special atmosphere at the school has been instrumental in increasing the student’s desire to make an academic effort. Despite the fact that a large proportion of students come from non-academic homes, many show a high academic level of ambition and many overcome their social inheritance by applying for upper secondary school, which the school also offers. Before the school opened, the expectation was that a year group in upper secondary school would total around 65-75 students. However, in 2013, there were more than 100 students per year group. According to the A.P. Møller Foundation, 70 % of the school’s own students graduated from upper secondary school five years after the school opened, which is a much higher number than expected. 

Identity & Economics 

According to the A.P. Møller Foundation, the A.P.  School has become quite an attraction since its opening with more than 70,000 visitors. Many local events take place in the school’s assembly hall and reception hall due to their beautiful design and optimum acoustics. The school’s principal, Jørgen Kühl, also describes how the unique atmosphere at the school has rubbed off on both students and teachers and motivated them in their daily work. This positive spiral is further underpinned by an influx of new, talented teachers, who have been attracted by the new environment.

Photo of A.P. Møller School by C.F. Møller Architects. Photo credit: Paul Ib Henriksen.
Photo credit: Paul Ib Henriksen

About the case

The A.P. Møller School complies with the requirements for both the Danish and the Schleswig-Holstein educational system and links multi-purpose spaces with room for both personal learning with more conventional classroom structures. All rooms have transparent entrances that offer a view of the common area ‘the Knowledge Centre’ and the distinctive staircase at the centre, which connects the balconies with the library. Optimum acoustics mean that many activities can take place at the same time without the students interrupting each other. The students and teachers at the school experience a unique learning atmosphere that affects their motivation to work and study.

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