Stair Gym

Nordfyn High School (Nordfyns Gymnasium) needs better facilities for strength training, fitness and floor exercise as a supplement to the existing gym, and a gym extension is hence required.

The extension, comprising a fitness- and a multipurpose room, has to be physically connected to the gym in order to allow access to the already existing changing rooms.

The new fitness and multipurpose rooms will contribute to an extended use of the gym by providing areas for much needed core activities as strength training, while in the same time offering possibilities for new activities such as meeting, yoga, dance teaching, as well as club-related activities.

Sports&teaching synergy

The existing gym and Nordfyn High School are part of a larger area surrounded by beautiful nature and comprising a number of primary and secondary schools, sports and football clubs, currently in the process of establishing shared facilities for training and play.

Can the new extension tap into the potential for synergistic effects between users and sports, leisure and teaching?


The existing buildings from 1969-1975 are rooted in the Nordic functionalism with a human scale and fine architectural quality. However, when compared to the envisioned interaction between users, they have an introvert appearance.

How to deal with this legacy in a respectful way? Could we conceive the extension as an integrated, yet more open structure?


By placing the extension on the North-eastern corner of the gym, an optimal connection with the changing rooms building and corridor gym connection can be achieved.

A two level building combines the two qualities of direct access to outdoor facilities with the view over the surrounding landscape and facilities, including the upcoming turf pitch nearby.

However, the two levels of the extension remain separated and inflexible for changing needs. Could we provide a different spatial relationship in-between the levels, to encourage social interaction and flexibility?


By ‘sliding’ the lower volume towards the Eastern upcoming sports area, a roof terrace emerges as a latent potential for a different and extended kind of usage and interaction with the surrounding activities. The ‘sliding’ operation however blocks for the gym fire access.

By uniting the floors and correspondingly the roofs of the two levels with a flight of stairs, a continuous ‘stair building’ emerges, which provides an internal spatial continuity, as well as a continuous roof terrace.

The stepped volume preserves the free access to the gym fire exit underneath, while creating a differentiated yet continuous internal space. The upper level contains a multi-space with views towards the surroundings and existing gym, while the fitness areas are placed on 4 large plateaus stepping down and opening towards the surroundings. The access to the extension is kept through the existing changing rooms’ volume, and articulated by means of a stair leading all the way up to the stepped roof terrace.

Social flexibility

The continuous internal space provided by the stepped layout offers an appealing flexibility with regards to the space usage, corresponding to the diversity of users and the resulting need for social flexibility. Functions can be separated clearly, or kept together according to needs for interaction. The stepped plateaus provide more intimate areas for training, combined with opportunities for informal being together. In the same time, temporary and space-demanding activities requiring the usage of the entire space are rendered possible.


The stepped roof terrace can be used for yoga and outdoor training, or simply as a tribune overlooking the beautiful surroundings, football pitches and activity areas. It provides scenic views over the upcoming Milky Way galaxy, designed by MUTOPIA, and contributes to the attractiveness of the area as an inspiring sports & learning shared environment.

Client: Nordfyns Gymnasium

Program: Gym extension, comprising fitness and multispace, 300m2

Year: 2014 -

Location: Søndersø, Fyn, Denmark

Team: Serban Cornea, Kristina Jordt Adsersen, Carina Nissen, Marcin Kruk

Status: Commission