With a focus on stimulating the minds and bodies of young learners, Oculus was a competition-winning proposal for Billingskolan; a new primary school for 350 pupils. Billingskolan is one of Sweden’s most energy-efficient schools, infused with daylight and nature to encourage active learning throughout the building and grounds.

Looking towards the future

‘Oculus’ is the Latin name for the eye. In architecture, an oculus is a circular opening, set high into a building, drawing light into the plan. Billingskolan is a contemporary interpretation of the oculus concept. Periscopic oculi signal the school’s progressive teaching methods and future-facing environments to the outside world. Inside, light drawn in by the oculi underpins the activities within.

Client: Skövde kommun
Location: Skövde, Sweden
Status: Completed 2014
Area: 5,000 sqm
Environmental certification: Miljöbyggnad Guld
Visuals: White View

One of Sweden’s most energy-efficient schools.

Not your average school

Five distinct volumes are housed under one roof, connected to Navet; a central creative plaza. Navet serves as the main circulation space, as well as a lively place to gather, have lunch, or play together. At the heart of Navet is an open air atrium that draws light into the heart of the school, while promoting active play and learning during the warmer months. The glazed sports hall is also integrated into this area, flooding even more light into the depth of the plan. Outside, pupils can continue their active learning, exercise or quiet contemplation in a welcoming park and a multi-use games area.

Oculus focuses on the way children perceive their environment, while creating many opportunities for education to take the forefront; indoors and outdoors.
Billingskolan Competition Panel

The gold standard

Emphasis was placed on the location of windows to achieve optimal climate and lighting conditions. Along with massing, orientation and material selection, this supported the sustainability strategy that led to the scheme’s Miljöbyggnad Guld rating, making Bilingskolan one of the most energy-efficient schools in Sweden. Billingskolan’s intelligent spatial layout allows for future adaption of different uses and teaching methods, ensuring long-term sustainability over time.

Through the looking glass

Coloured periscopes that rise from the school’s roofline bathe a set of double-height Oculus rooms with light. Colourful walls and floors reflect the incoming light in rainbow shades. These semi-glazed units are more akin to studios than traditional classrooms, maximising daylight to promote wellbeing, while creating an expressive roofline that defines the school’s identity.

Billingskolan is a modest building on the dense evergreen outskirts of Skövde. The school’s striking sedum green roof almost camouflages the building from above, blending into the surrounding landscape, while attracting and supporting wildlife.

Contact & Team

Karin Björning-Engström

Karin Björning-Engström


+46 766 39 46 37

Björn Bondesson

Karin Jakobsson

Rikard Sjöberg

Karin Sjödin

Katharina Thullner

Jeroen Matthijssen

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