When it comes to interior design, there is often the perception that you get what you pay for. Within the industry, projects are often ranked by budget, with a tacit implication that bigger-ticket designs will necessarily follow in terms of grandiosity.
If the more expensive is better, Norway’s latest educational facility Faerder upper secondary school’s €50 million design must be among the world’s best. Designed by a team that includes White Arkitekter AB, Veidekke Entreprenor AS and other Norwegian architectural firms, the 15,000 square metres school will feature a gymnasium, extensive technological aspects and industrial space for technical and general subjects (TAF).
The pricey school will house 750 pupils and 150 employees in two buildings.
It is well-known that lighting designs impact schoolchildren’s productivity and learning, and there is hard evidence to suggest that acoustically insulating rooms enables more efficient learning. The question remains, however, do these things really come with a €50 million price tag?
Some of the world’s biggest design flops have been in the price range of a billion dollars. Forbes ranks the Millennium Dome in London as one of the world’s ugliest buildings, and its came with the heavy price tag of $1.25 billion. Also featured on the list is Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame which, despite ‘bold and geometric’ interior structures according to the site’s architect, I.M Pei, was described by Forbes as inefficient and unattractive.
“(It) isn’t functional, nor is it really a piece of art to behold,” Forbes said of the building.
At $84 million, it also isn’t cheap.
Perhaps in other industry sectors it pays to spend more, but when interiors are interpreted on so many different levels and the greatest influencers often come in the form of simple colour, lighting and layout planning, clever design is a much greater investment than expensive design.