Copenhagen Gallery

Day Care Center at Glyptoteket

Amidst such Copenhagen architectural icons as the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek and the Tivoli Gardens, a new day care centre is being built. On the outside the building will hold its own in relation to its high-profile surroundings, while concealing a much gentler and flexible ambience inside for the children's day, a space for excitement, fun and vegetables!

At the eminent and somewhat illustrative address on Ved Glyptoteket, a new day care centre is planting itself in the very centre of Royal Copenhagen.   It is not necessarily easy to place a playful, dynamic nursery in an ancient, dense neighbourhood, which is characterised by a highly distinctive architectural expression, with buildings such as the Police Headquarters, Tivoli Gardens and the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. Nonetheless, the architecture practice Vandkunsten have managed to design a building, which provides children with a flexible and functional setting, while venerably holding its own in relation to its surroundings.

Low building with several considerations

Vandkunsten have solved the challenge by designing a low, two-storey building. On one hand, the building accommodates a desire for easy access from the entire building to the outdoor areas. On the other hand, it establishes a built perimeter up against the grounds of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, which have no control over the little park. The façade acts as a protective wall against Tietgensgade and its heavy traffic, while opening up  in the direction of the more peaceful street, Ved Glyptoteket. This is where the main entrance is located, fronted by a small, open plaza, which guarantees an unimpeded view of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, when one walks from the Central Station and down past the Tivoli Gardens along Tietgensgade. It is also a tribute to the countless, characteristically cut-off nooks and crannies of the neighbourhood.

Affinity with its surroundings

The building is constructed from polished stone blocks, which, despite the building's relatively low height, invest it with both gravity and contrast in relation to its surroundings. The stone blocks have been polished to match the fine, smooth and very textural expression of the Police Headquarters, while small displacements in the façade refer to the rich detail of the surrounding architecture. A large part of the upper storey is used for a roof garden, creating a green interaction between the Centre and the grounds of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. In the garden a steel pergola and solid guardrail refer both to the façade of the Tivoli Concert Hall and the ornate iron railings surrounding the Ny Carlesberg Glyptotek.

Flexible spaces that create cohesion

Inside, the building is structured around a large common area, where a central staircase connects the first and second storeys. As the centre of the building, this light space opens up to the second storey, where there are skylights to provide both light and a view of the sky. Folding walls separate the group rooms. This provides flexible spaces, which can be merged, if there is a circus performance, and separated into more intimate spaces when, for example, someone is reading out loud to the children. The spaces are narrow so, on one hand, they are lit from both sides while, on the other hand, they have visual contact to both the street and the playground.  From small bay windows, children can keep up with city life and get a fabulous view of Tivoli's ancient gardens.

Meals, sensouosness and nature at the very heart of things

It will also be possible to move directly from the common area, through a large greenhouse, to the playground. The institution's educational profile is all about food, meals, sensuousness and nature. So, despite the Centre's urban context, nature is literally at the heart of things. The large greenhouse will represent the very heart of the building, connecting every part of the Centre and serving as a smooth transition between outdoors and indoors. In the greenhouse children can experience nature, and help grow their own vegetables, which they then cook in the open kitchen, which is centrally located in the common area.

Playground with fun for everyone

The playground will provide space for all children to have fun, whatever their age or favourite game. The playground is dotted with a sandpit, a moon car track, climbing frames and playhouses.  If they get tired of making sand castles, children can explore the large green area with its jungle track, natural staircase, sensory garden, berry bushes, hills and bonfire area. A big play staircase will connect the playground with the more intimate roof terrace, where children can spend time on their own, smelling the flowers, which wind up and around the pergola, or enjoying a nap under the sun canopy.

The Ved Glyptoteket Day Care Centre should be completed by April 2014.

Thursday, January 09, 2014 / By Ida Oline Frandsen

Last updated Thursday, July 10, 2014