As soon as you step into Hellerup School, you notice its very special atmosphere. Just inside the entrance lie lots of shoes – because both students and teachers change into indoor shoes when they arrive. This means that students can romp about on the floor for both play and learning. The floor areas are not merely flat surfaces, but a modelled landscape with staircases, plateaux, balconies and bridges, where the children can sit, jump about, stand, move around. The heart of the building is the large stairway area, which is much more than just a stairwell leading from one floor to another. A wealth of different activities take place here: traffic to and fro, chatting, teaching, group work, presentations and film shows for larger assemblies – and this is also where many students eat their lunch.
The stairway form is used at many points in the school's physical structure; besides the central atrium, they are also used in all home areas and in connection with the roof terraces and outdoor spaces. Hellerup School is a network school, in which the physical and psychological distances have been minimised. Simple and clear communications routes lead in all directions from the central stairway area.
The central functions are associated with the staircase or atrium, while teaching takes place in the students' home areas, which are located in the more peaceful corners. The home area is the children's base in their daily routine, and provides them with a sense of security. With the help of mobile units – cupboards, shelving and screen walls – the home areas can be sub-divided into smaller spaces. The design of the homes areas also matches the pupils' ages, and classes can also customise their home areas to a very large degree. One characteristic of the building is the interplay between its outwardly rather stringent cubical form, and the open, organic interior design and fertile diversity that characterises the house internally.