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The Navy Girls’ School in Nyboder is a rare, full-fledged example of a school building built to high standards in the Historicist style, with a strong focus on function.
The Navy Girls’ School is situated in Nyboder, a terrace of former naval barracks in the historic quarter of Copenhagen. The Navy Girls’ School in Nyboder was designed by the architect Bernhard Seidelin in 1858 as a school for the daughters of naval officers and seamen. The building served as a girls’ school for a mere ten years before becoming the headquarters of the Royal Danish Naval Academy. The property is a rare, full-fledged example of a school building built to high standards in the Historicist style, with strong focus on function, and to this day it preserves a wealth of beautifully crafted details.
Realdania By & Byg acquired the property in 2003 in order to preserve the building and its unique history for posterity. The building was listed in 1992. Since then, it has been the home of Bygningskulturens Hus, an association of shared office spaces centred around architecture and historic buildings.
The Navy Girls’ School is a typical example of the architecture of the early Historicist period. The building’s exterior is characterised by the uniform surfaces of the walls, the orderly division of the façade and its strict symmetry. Both the exterior and the interior of the building feature a wealth of motifs, such as the triangular gable on the façade, and the quatrefoil shape of the balustrade on the front steps.
Passing through the entrance hall with its domed brickwork ceiling, one is greeted by the former school’s large assembly hall, around the entire edge of which runs a balcony at the same height as the first floor. The handrail of the balcony is beautifully carved in wood, each of the banisters bearing a unique design. The visible ceiling structure is likewise an exquisite piece of craftsmanship carved in dark wood. The walls are adorned with plaster reliefs featuring motifs by Bertel Thorvaldsen, and the heavy doors to the small offices all exhibit meticulous contours. Fine craftsmanship and high quality materials permeate every last inch of this historic building.
The Navy Girls’ School is a rare, full-fledged example of a school built in the early years of the nation state, with its strong focus on function, incorporating elements such as a porter's lodge, a wash-house and lodgings for teachers. Skilled architects, sturdy materials and a high standard of craftsmanship are hallmarks of the naval buildings of the era. Today the building stands as a testament to the goodwill and community spirit of the era in which it was built.