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Smørblomsten Kindergarten reflects the "village" concept of many gabled forms

Here is an exemplary example of a rigorous design approach for designing a centre. Unfortunately a lot of the initial ideas seem lost in the final (yet finely articulated architectural) product (as is often the case).

It is a common issue in attempting a way to break down the scale of space to give at once the feeling of homeliness and meet the functional scale of the child. And this was the first thought given by architects COBE who designed this rather large (200 child-capacity) new centre situated in the town of  Frederiksberg in Denmark.

How to make a large kindergarten seem small?

The next thought was given over to how to meet the various contextual scales of the surrounding context, to ensure the facility fit within the surrounding buildings and green areas.

Diagram incorporating the urban, villa and greenery scales of the surrounding context.

Physical model

Rendered view from the playground

The overall flow of the 'village' is around the two 'village' winter gardens

Rendered view of a 'winter garden'

Providing access to outdoor play

Two houses shift position to create spatial pockets therefore maxmizing the playground

There are four roof gardens - one of them is a double decker!

All kids have access to outdoor spaces from their own floor 

Facades are clad in wood with small variations
(Further breaking up the scales)

Rendered view from the street

Colour in the interior gives identity to each little house

Rendered view of inside a play room

Spaces within spaces: 
11 small houses with even smaller houses inside these houses!

Letting nature in

Floor Plans and Section
Click on the images below to enlarge.

Ground Floor Plan                                   First Floor Plan

Second Floor Plan                                    Section

And the finished result...

The minimalist black and white forms are rather a far cry from the concept rendering showing warm natural timbers of varying texture and transparency giving a depiction of layering and allowing nature in. The final result below however seems stark and foreboding in comparison (perhaps not helped by the looming overhead clouds....)

The reflective and seemingly random placed frameless windows set in the village-like "houses" are however impressive. As project architect Eik Bjerregaard explains; The windows were carefully detailed to look frameless ‘like a child might forget to draw the frames’, and the roofline is uncluttered thanks to hidden drainage details, precise material connections, and insetting solar panels flat to the roof surface.

A wood-wrapped indoor-outdoor structure used for sports and play

A skylit central atrium with "classrooms" or "group rooms" all facing in through house-shaped window nooks.

It seems a shame that the initial concepts of warm timbers, natural elements and defining colours were abandoned in the final product which seems to me to be too stark, minimal and cold for "loose" - active and creative children's play. However, the architects must be commended for their design methodology which exhibits a thorough thought process to designing for children.

Via FrameWeb and COBE.


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