Crafts College Herning

Standing on one of Denmark’s oldest moraine hills on the heath of central Jutland, Herning is a city with true entrepreneurial spirit. Its identity has been shaped by some of the best architects, landscape architects, and artists in the world. Inspired by this long-standing focus on high quality and iconic architecture, the crafts college conveys a unique architectural identity and provides a frame to inspire and motivate the next generation of artisans in Denmark. 

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We need skilled artisans to pave the way for sustainable solutions that respond to future challenges. With community and education at its core, the new craft college in Herning will be a living textbook in crafts disciplines. It will illustrate how a powerful synergy of architecture and craftmanship can form functional and beautiful designs, built for longevity. Resting under a large, wooden elliptical roof, the college defines a simple, yet characterful gesture in the flat heathland.

“Good craftsmanship nurtures good architecture. The craft college is an opportunity to not only cultivate a common profession but to strengthen the respect of the craft traditions and create an inspiring environment where young people can form a strong community around their crafts, learn from each other, and develop their talent. It is important to us, that the building have its own unique identity and a sustainable, flexible design that beautifully illustrates what different craft traditions can create together,” says founder and create director Dorte Mandrup. 

The building is designed to withstand use and change for many years to come. Attention is given to sustainable, robust, and reliable materials which are rooted in different craft traditions – carpentry, masonry, plumbing, and paving. The overall design comprises of a timber construction with the wood left exposed, creating beautiful warm surfaces. Other materials include recycled bricks and slate which has been used in Denmark since the 16th century and proven its unsurpassed durability.

A living learning community
The craft college will play an important role in developing the next generations of artisans in Denmark. With its elliptical structure, the design emphasis the strong community between the different craft traditions and aims at strengthening knowledge sharing and collaboration between them. Common areas, workshops, and private spaces are naturally connected in a hierarchy going from the shared functions in the centre to the more private in the periphery. Workshops and common facilities are placed side by side facing the inner circular courtyard. Studio flats are placed in the outer perimeter, each with their own terrace. 

The college is connected to the surrounding city and landscape through four large openings with the inner circular courtyard creating a new shared gathering place, contributing with new life and inspiration for everyone. The slope of the roof briefly shades parts of the courtyard. A large wooden bench is placed in the centre where it is bathed in sunlight from sunrise to sunset and forms a meeting place, protected from the wind. The inner part of the roof collects rainwater and leads it from the roof to an open rainwater basin in a controlled waterfall. 


The crafts College in Herning is the BRF Foundation’s second out of three planned colleges in Denmark. With an ambition to strengthen the respect and positive image of the craft profession and attract more young people to the field, the colleges have a strong focus on functional and sustainable solutions that illustrate how interaction between various professions can result in high quality design.