In Albertslund, a progressive suburb of Copenhagen, there are many attractive housing estates, plus a number of new facilities specially designed for families with young children. These include three new day care centres -Børnehuset Toftekær, which was first and opened in 2010, together with Sydstjernen and Ved Vejen.
All three are noted for their minimal energy consumption and a healthy indoor climate. All are designed by architects Nøhr & Sigsgaard A/S with the same square shape which features a skylight above a central common area together with bay windows, corbels, carvings and other elements that characterise the buildings and give them a dynamic feel.
While the exterior of Børnehuset Toftekær has relatively clean lines, the interior is completely different. The main room – known as the square – is a fascinating collection of small and large common rooms that spread throughout the building. The central is very high with a curved wooden ceiling which defines its size and shape while the finish on the walls adds warmth and intimacy to an environment that appeals both to children and adults.
Toftekær can accommodate up to 125 children plus staff. Architect Mads Koch from Nøhr & Sigsfaard says:
“The layout is characterised by broken walls, recesses. arches and different materials because, from experience, we knew that this is a good basis for acoustic control. The curved ceiling deadens the sound, partly due to its shape and partly because mineral wool has been placed behind the wooden wall cladding.”
“Troldtekt cement-bonded wood wool panels were chosen to provide an effective acoustic solution and to complement the robustness of the ceiling as an alternative to mineral wool. Equally important, the panels were chosen to create a certain effect and simplicity for the large space and to use natural and simple materials in the building.”