Vognsbøl Børnehus is a large institution with 13 home groups of children in the age of 0 – 6 years old, with a total of 180 children. The institution was finished in 2018. The institution has a special focus on activity and sports for children.
Children today in Denmark is spending most of their awake hours during the week in the institution. Often institutions have only a few playing possibilities, few different materials on the playground, a large focus on paying attention to each other and downscaling the level activity, so the kids do not get into too many conflicts. And there is not much room for playing undisturbed, getting lost or trying something dangerous and challenging. We do not yet know the consequences of this type of reduced opportunities in childhood. A few scientists have made research showing the great importance of being challenged during your childhood, which will train you to handle and cope with challenges and obstacles later in your life.
Our aim is therefore in all the institutions we make for kids, to expand the framework of the project, towards creating areas for kids with more possibilities for experiences and personal development.
Vognsbøl Børnehus is placed in the former old waterwork of the city. The site is a beautiful ground situated at the edge of the Vognsbøl Park close to the city center. A part of the waterwork is reused in the project as an unheated outdoor workspace and sports facilities.
The project started as a planning process, where the architect and the landscape architect in collaboration created the ‘city-plan’ for the whole area. The ambition was to take advantage of the unique location at the edge of the park, and bring the park feeling all the way in and around the children’s play so that the children will experience that they are playing in a park all day.
The project was given a standard number of 10 m2 per child. To generate a feeling of having enough space – the building was placed as far back on the site as possible, using the green forest belt of the park, as the scenic background for the main rooms inside the institution. The playground area was gathered into two large units, separating the smallest kids from the bigger ones in a Vuggestue/ 0-2 years and a Børnehave / 3-6 years.
The building’s orientation towards the north, provides a large sunny facade with equally good local entrances for the 13 homegroups, with a welcoming atmosphere.
The playground is divided into local zones with each a specific focus on different kinds of play. The zones are separated, so the noisy and wilder games will not disturb the quiet and focused games. There is a large focus on having a wide range of possibilities to explore so that there is less need for pedagogical regulation because the frame creates natural zones for the kids play. The ground is divided 3-dimensionally with several edges, providing eternal possibilities for sitting for small legs.
All the playground equipment is changed from single user to multiplayer use. Fx single swings are gathered in a multiplayer swing in a circle, providing the feeling of swinging together and having eye contact while doing it. A lot of conflicts are reduced by adding multiplayer use with space for kids to join into each other’s play.
Collaborators | Transform and TEKT Arkitekter
Client | Esbjerg Municipality
Project location | Nørrebro, Gl Vardevej 99, 6700 Esbjerg, Denmark
Design year | 2016-2018
Year Built | Maj 2018