Keeping it simple

Nick Myall
Tuesday 07 Feb 2017

A small scale village atmosphere has been created at Frederiksvej Kindergarten by dividing the building into 11 small houses

Frederiksvej Kindergarten is the result of a competition win by COBE in collaboration with Preben Skaarup landscape architects, Søren Jensen engineers and Learning Spaces consultants. 

The kindergarten, in Copenhagen, Denmark, aims to create a small village setting for children that breaks away from the traditional, large scale institutional daycare environment. The small scale village atmosphere at Frederiksvej Kindergarten is achieved by dividing the building into 11 small houses joint together with different orientation. The various play programs in the kindergarten are centred around two winter gardens that have resulted in small, individualised spaces where children can establish their own play niches within the building. 

The Frederiksvej Kindergarten offers children the opportunity to establish small individualised play spaces, but at the same time the coherent and clear organization of the institution has been highly prioritised. The two atriums in each end of the buildings connect the different floors and group rooms. The atriums also function as central gathering points, where informal meetings between children, employees and parents can take place. A continuous simple design has been key to the concept of the building. 

COBE have worked to create a simple expression as a caricature of how a child might draw a house. The roofline for example, is kept uncluttered by means of hidden drains and precise material connections, and the windows are carefully designed to look frameless – as a child would maybe draw them. 

Surrounding the main kindergarten, six additional smaller houses located in the playground area are used for storage of strollers, toys, and tools. Within the main kindergarten building, small house shaped structures are used for enclosed spaces such as kitchenettes, cradles, playrooms and baby changing facilities. All in keeping with the main concept of a small village environment.

The 11 houses are slightly offset from each other to divide the program of the kindergarten. From the outside the offsets of the façades divide the kindergarten into smaller outdoor areas and play zones while allowing daylight to enter the building. Within the building, various size and types of rooms are created for the occupants as a result of the offset. The kindergarten consists of two to three floors with group rooms that have individual access to the outdoor space on each floor. 

The kindergarten is named after the street it’s currently located on, where apartment buildings, villas and small gardens meet. The new kindergarten adapts to the different scales of the local community and reflects the neighbouring pitched roofs that range in different heights and pitches. 

Nick Myall

News editor

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