Messingen High School & Civic Centre

Messingen High School is not just a school. It is a place used by all of the community, round the clock. While it is not unusual for schools to share sport and culture spaces with the public, Messingen also houses a public library, café, restaurant and waiting room for rail commuters – a truly mixed-use building that revived a forgotten slice of town.

An unconventional mix of activities

Upplands Väsby’s was once a thriving industrial town. The area around the rail station was the focal point for activity. As industry declined over the decades, the area did too. In the late 2000’s, the town was in great need of a new senior high school. However, a shrinking pupil base and a lack of suitable facilities garnered the idea to design a new, education-led, mixed-use centre with the aim of reinstating the station district as a flourishing hub for a range of different activities. Since opening in 2011, Messingen has attracted pupils from other municipalities, while a growing number of creative and commercial enterprises continue to move into the building.

Igniting the physical and social regeneration of the area.

Clients: Upplands Väsby Municipality / Peab
Location: Upplands Väsby, Sweden
Status: Completed 2011
Area: 15,800 sqm
Awards: Samhällsbyggarpriset, 2012
Visuals: Åke E:son Lindman, Thomas Zaar

Pupils and staff from several schools were interviewed to understand what factors contribute towards a successful educational environment. The student response was that they wanted a safe, open meeting place full of social activities where the outside world was made visible – and vice versa. When asking the question; what makes a school attractive? An answer that came from the design team focused on two aspects: out-of-hours activities that make the school a useful wider community asset, as well as the flexibility for the building to adapt to future trends. It is these aspects that form the building blocks of long-term sustainability.

The starting point for the design was by asking the question; what it is that makes a school attractive?
Klara Frosterud, Project Architect

Community building

Instead of the standard higher secondary school, the idea of a creative knowledge centre took seed. Messingen incorporates two secondary schools; Väsby Nya Gymnasium and Peabskolan; alongside the municipal music school and the central public library. One common entrance hall is used for these knowledge based activities, in addition to shared spaces for events, performance and sports, as well as a café and restaurant.


Somewhat unusually, Messingen also provides a waiting room for rail commuters travelling from Upplands Väsby mainline station, while its café hosts local authority meetings outside school lunch and break times. Messingen is a place that strengthens relationships between students, professionals, local community and commuters, embedding the school as a much-loved mixed-use building for all.

On the inside, Messingen has a rich interior with varied environments that stimulate learning, activities and ideas. To support different forms of educational, group rooms, open learning environments and traditional classrooms allow students and teachers choose the most suitable learning style for them.

Perforated copper plates with varying transparencies accent the exteriors of the simple cubic volume. These provide shade, colour and contrast against generous portions of façade glazing.

A healthy building
High sustainability goals were set early in the project. These aimed to create the ultimate environment to support health, wellbeing and social interaction, as well as lowering energy consumption and environmental impact. The plants occupying the sedum roofs capture and filter a significant proportion of acid rain that would otherwise end up in the water table. Sedum roofs also play a part in controlling a temperate indoor climate, while absorbing air pollutants, dampen noise and slowing surface water run-off. The compact building volume is energy efficient, minimising the quantity of material used across the façades.

Contact & Team

Hans Forsmark

Hans Forsmark


+46 8 402 25 28

Klara Frosterud
Frida Munktell
Hans Swensson
Raimo Joss
Anders Olausson
Per Wikfeldt
Martin Ceder
Yara Hormazábal Cortés
Anders Wiil
Karin Höök
Sofia Eskilsdotter
Sofia Palmer
Elise Juusela-Norberg
Maja Abrahamson
Karolina Nyström
Erik Eriksson
Björn Norén
Leif Johansson
Margaretha Nilsson
Petter Lindencrona
Lovisa Kihlborg
Jan Wijkmark
Rosmari Johansson
Magdalena Franciskovic
Marie Oldfeldt
Viktoria Walldin
Kaveh Vaez
Niklas Singstedt
Katharina Björlin Wiklund
Robert Niziolek
Anders Thalberg
Martin Edfelt
Kajsa Paulsson
Mats Wåhlin
Kåre Lundberg
Anders Danielsson
Anna Ulrichs
Martin Öhman
Jonas Nilsson
Amelie Rydqvist
Björn Rubin
Marie Hult
Frida Nordström
Pelle Beckman