CIS Nordhavn


The building has won several Danish and international awards:

  • ICONIC Award - Architecture, 2017
  • Blueprint Award finalist, Best Public Use Project (Private Funding), 2017
  • Årets Byggeri - hædrende omtale, 2017 (Building of the Year, Honorary Mention)
  • Civic Trust Award - Commendation, 2017
  • European Architecture Award - Urban Development, finalist, 2017
  • Regional winner (Best in Europe), WAN Education Award, 2017
  • Building Integrated Solar Technology - 2nd prize, 2017
  • Active House Award, overall winner 2018
  • The Architecture MasterPrize for Educational Architecture 2018

Some of the most important features of our New Nordhavn Campus




Security: Single entry and exit point only (except for emergency exits, of course, which are never more than 20 meters away). Visitors have to go through a glass door sluice system in order to get access.

Glass environment allows visitors to see through the whole building right from the start. Openness and transparency, but access is controlled by receptionist..

Reception has a Nap Room if your child is sick and needs to be picked up.

Reception will have a big permanent mosaic mural created from tiles made by “all” members of the CIS community - and a graffiti wall where students can unfold their creative talents, and which can be painted over at regular intervals to provide a fresh “canvass” for new students.

Meeting room for PTA and other community groups adjacent to reception.

Why four towers?

Each section of the school has its own tower: Early Years, Primary School Middle School and High School.

Less travel time: from base or playground to classroom is only a short distance

Transparent community with library, music, drama, PE, restaurant and Design Tech rooms in the base.

Floors are named after the relevant grade level.

Sections organized around class/advisory groups - one grade level per floor.

Offices and classrooms, teachers and students are mixed

The towers have a total of 30+ multi-purpose meeting rooms and spaces, varying in size and openness.

Each section has its own design, each floor has its own layout, age-appropriately designed, which provides a sense of belonging and identity; floors and rooms easily recognizable, even from the outside. Everyone has their own locker and “home” or base.

Dunbar’s number: Research shows that a person can relate to and keep social contact with a maximum of 150 people. Each level at Nordhavn will be its own little community with max 100 individuals. This increases students’ sense of community, responsibility and belonging.

The building as such is modeled on a town centered around the town square with restaurant and library and administration, sports and cultural facilities adjoining, with venues and areas for increasingly larger groups of people, depending on function and relationship:

classroom, year group, section/tower, whole school.

Areas around the classrooms are designed for different types of learning/information sharing. ‘Cave’ spaces for individual focus study, ‘Watering holes’ for peer work, ‘Campfire’ spaces for lecture and traditional calls learning and the community spaces. The increasing autonomy of the different age groups is reflected in the design.


Almost all classrooms are placed in corners of the building = improved daylight and views from two sides.

Large high resolution interactive screens (new generation smart boards).

Spacious and high-ceilinged.

More details under lighting, ventilation & acoustics: the three most important environmental factors that impact teaching and learning, positively if they are optimized as in this case - and negatively which is sadly the case in most schools. We have spared no expense in our efforts to create the best possible learning environment.


Windows: latest technology glass that retains the natural daylight but filters infrared rays and heat.

Artificial light: All light is LED based and teachers can control the color temperature and intensity from “candle to noon”. Lamps allow for different light temperatures on desks and in the room as such to distinguish between different types of light that affect students’ ability to learn. Four different preset types of light in each classroom: activity-based lighting, relaxation, focus and reading. Imitating the best parts of the natural daylight. Easily controlled by the teacher.


Reverberation reduced to a minimum through the use of sound absorbing materials. Transmission reduced through sound absorbers and dampeners.

Heating, cooling &

Oxygen level is key to learning: Our system provides three times the required airflow to ensure optimal temperature and air quality. Cooling ceilings and draft free ventilation ensure optimal comfort. High insulation window frames ensure minimal draft and optimal comfort.

Sports & Fitness

Two fitness centers: traditional fitness room with range of equipment + a health/movement/dance studio/aerobics center.

Three indoor gyms, full basketball court size. Placed on ground level for openness and transparency, and it looks attractive and inviting from the outside. Automated System allows for daylight, black out, diffusing

Smaller gym for Early Years in their own tower to reduce travel time; focus on motor skills.

Soundproof glass walls and doors all over, allowing people to watch activities taking place in the gyms - and to allow daylight to enter the central spaces deep inside the building.

Spectator balconies in MS and HS.

Individualized shower facilities (cubicles with doors + special toilets with private built-in showers).

Two outdoor basketball courts with additional soccer goals for multipurpose use.

Seven rooftop ball cages for flexible use.


Semi-professional venue for internal and external productions, seats 350 which corresponds to one section of the school (Early Years, Primary School, Middle School, High School). Seats are retractable so the space can be used for other activities. Orchestral pit hydraulically controlled and moveable proscenium allows for multiple theatre experiences.

Wheelchair access to stage - as well as everywhere else in the school!

Backstage exact same size as stage.

Lighting bridge, sound booth.

Two black box theatres and a daylight drama classroom.


Three large classrooms + early years + 8 practice/rehearsal spaces for soloists, duets, quartets and bands. Clustered to create a community experience.

Science Rooms

Seven in total.

In Primary School: A Da Vinci Room, combining Art & science, building, experimenting, learning through play and experimentation, creativity, Lego lab. Glass walls allow other students to watch activities. Balconies allow students to go out and test their “inventions”.

Design tech: Woodwork and metalwork. Big gate leading in so you can bring in your bike or other equipment and fix it, e.g. using welding.


Two kitchens: An industrial kitchen and a learning kitchen.

The life-skill of cooking. Cooking classes both for students and for the parent community to share their knowledge and food culture.

Students can use vegetables from the greenhouses which are situated on top of each of the four towers and seafood from the basin: mackerel, herring, flatfish, mussels, kelp

Soundproof Glass walls and doors all over, allowing people to watch activities taking place in the kitchen - and students can see food being prepared by professionals next door.

Primary Playground 2nd floor
Rooftop Playgrounds/
ball cages

Multiple clusters focusing on different age groups and experiences, tailor made by Kompan, a leading Danish playground equipment provider.

Greenhouse on top of each tower.

Ball courts with a net roof for basket and football on top of each tower. Each area designed for the relevant age group, developmentally appropriate.


Easily movable, everything on wheels (except in Early Years). Taller chairs and desks that incline, to make them more ergonomic;

Emphasis on natural materials: oiled oak floors (easy to maintain/repair), woolen sofa cover, solid bamboo bookshelves, materials that “age with beauty”.

Durability & quality - appeal to students’ sense of responsibility.



The new food services area will make it possible for the school to become a hub of activity throughout the day and into the evening and on weekends.

Will sit 350. Can be used for conferences & parties.

Top quality caterer has been recruited: Simply Cooking.

Big wide staircase leading up to the second floor to be used as a seating area for big assemblies etc.

Central meeting place for parents to have coffee, chat, eat - or just hang out as they wait for their children.

Community Center

The school fully intends to become a hub for the CIS community, as well as the wider expat and Danish communities. This might include, but not limited to the use of the following for community events:

  • sports facilities
  • the cafeteria
  • the theater
  • music
  • conference rooms
  • library
  • facilities on the water (pending funding)

Solar Panels

12,000 in total. Will cover roughly 50% of the school’s energy consumption.

Glass specially made in Italy. Coated in the United Arab Emirates through a new Swiss technology that ensures full transparency = efficiency, and a color changing effect depending on the angle at which the panel is viewed or mounted. The goal is to reduce solar glare and bring the building and solar panels alive to make the building less massive, more friendly and inviting.

Panels directly connected to the classrooms through so-called micro converters, which are super safe and optimize power output and safety: If something goes wrong, all you need to do is fix the relevant converter. The rest will continue to function and can be serviced easily.

We can monitor and log the amount of energy produced and consumed and this data can be used in science classes.

Other Sustainability Initiatives

Campus lives up to the 2020 environmental building codes/requirements.

  • Toilets prepared to use secondary water for flushing
  • All water faucets are optically controlled
  • Motion sensors everywhere control lighting to save energy
  • LED based lighting = vastly reduced energy consumption
  • CO2 and temperature sensor ensure optimal oxygen level & temperature, adjusting airflow accordingly and saving energy
  • Use of natural materials wherever possible to reduce chemical emissions. Wooden floors use high percentage of each tree by laying it in small pieces and allows for easy maintenance and repair.
  • All bio waste from kitchens enters a bio tank and will be reused for animal fodder
  • Paper and cardboard hydraulically compressed and sold/recycled

Floating Islands

We hope at some stage to be able to establish two islands, one for water sports and the other for science and experiential learning.

Sailing: CIS could collaborate with Svanemøllen Sailing Club via the extensive canal system, but also establish local clubs for canoeing, kayaking, winter bathing etc.

Science: The science island would offer our students a wide range of experiments and learning opportunities. Students could grow marine plants, mussels, and kelp. They could go scuba diving and catch fish. They could monitor the water quality at different wind directions and seasons.


The funding for the building comes from donations, the school’s financial reserves and from bank loans. The principal donors for the project have been: the Moller Foundation (Maersk), the Novo Nordisk Foundation, the Hempel Foundation, the Villum Foundation, Dampskibsselskabet NORDEN A/S // D/S Orients Fond, and the Augustinus Foundation.

Parking and Transportation

There is a staff and parent parking lot right next to the campus. The lot accommodates some 140 cars which is five times the current number. NB: Fees apply!

There will be bicycle parking for 600 or more bikes.

Click here for a detailed description of how to get to and from our new campus, as well as updated information on parking, transportation and road safety.

In addition to this list, please study the New Campus FAQ on the school’s website