Trondheim Cathedral School, colloquially known as Katta, has a history that stretches back to the Middle Ages in Norway. There is enormous potential in the historic buildings, which we believe offer better opportunities for learning than many new schools. In 2021 we won the competition to transform and reconstruct Trondheim Cathedral School.
Interdisciplinary architectural and engineering expertise will ensure that Norway’s oldest learning facility can welcome more students. The transformation will also create an open passage from the city to the school. A passage that has been closed for centuries. Katta has a central position in the city and the hearts of its inhabitants. Nevertheless, the school has been left trapped, without the possibility of a connection to the city centre. We want to invite the city into the school.
By opening the old gate facing north, it will be possible to connect Katta to Trondheim’s unique walkway system. Inhabitants will get access to the city through the school complex, and the school gets a new zone for soft road users. This will be a walkway in historic surroundings, which will be pleasant for both students and people passing through. We will develop new arenas for sports and culture in the reconstructed school. They will be available to the general population, as well as a part of the pupils scheduled everyday life.
In this way, Katta will become a new gathering place for the city, towards the square and the main street. The result is that city life and sporting life are linked together for large and small events. The rehabilitation of the Cathedral School follows a sustainability concept. It is based on safeguarding existing buildings in the best possible way. Integrating them in the new design and allocating the areas, so that they reach their full potential. Building protection through use, is our motto.
This means that we analyze existing buildings and decide what we take with us from the original building stock. This is a way to achieve maximum utilization of what is already there, instead of building new. Investing in protection brings benefits that we cannot achieve when we build new. In Norway’s oldest school, some of the buildings are much narrower than in many modern learning facilities. This is an example of a feature of Katta that deserves protection. Narrow buildings often create beautiful rooms because daylight enters from both sides. Our task will be to make these rooms accessible and pleasant.
We plan to make the Harsdorff building universally accessible with an internal lifting platform or a ramp towards the courtyard. The plan is for the building to be used as a learning area, which frees up space in other parts of the school. This way we gain space that can be used for other purposes. There will be more “air” in existing buildings, and this reduces the need for expansion. This illustrates how the building is best protected when we put it to use. Source by Henning Larsen.
Image © Henning LarsenLocation: Trondheim, NorwayArchitect: Henning LarsenCollaborators: Rolvung & Brøndsted Arkitekter, Betonmast Trøndelag, Rambøll, Argon Elektro, Tung Rør og Teknisk ventilasjon.Client: Trøndelag county municipalityArea: 14 000 m2 BTACompletion: 2023Images: Courtesy of Henning Larsen