A city within a city

In the colourful Christianshavn district of Copenhagen, Denmark’s largest children’s institution has opened, but by organising the built-up area into smaller and very diverse units, Børnebyen Christianshavn feels like a self-contained city on a small scale.

Troldtekt, Børnebyen Christianshavn
Photo: Helene Høyer Mikkelsen, architect

Børnebyen Christianshavn occupies a triangular plot on Prinsessegade in the very heart of Christianshavn, and is an institution for children aged 0-15. In total, 710 children attend the institution on a daily basis. It is divided into a nursery, a kindergarten and an after-school recreational club, but together the various buildings constitute an organism made up of different units, each with their own identity. The scale and architecture of the buildings harmonise with the local neighbourhood, being neither tall nor monotonous. And as in a real city, Børnebyen Christianshavn has its own city gate, fire station, restaurant, city hall, squares and neighbourhoods.

Colours and surfaces  

The city gate is yellow, while the ‘fire station’ is red. The facades are made of wood, metal, brick and glass. A varied and diverse mix of materials and colours mimics that of a small city, where everything has a function and its own special place. The playgrounds and green areas fill the gaps between the buildings, forming a coherent outdoor space, which is an important aspect of everything that Børnebyen has to offer. The buildings have numerous large window sections and patios etc. that link the interior and exterior environments.

The children’s institutions are adorned by the children’s own creative activities, while the interior design is more functional. The ceilings are mainly clad in Troldtekt acoustic panels in natural wood or white-painted as a recurring material on the various floors and in the various buildings. Troldtekt panels dampen the reverberation time, and in so doing ensure good acoustics, not least in the double-height rooms. In addition, Troldtekt acoustic panels with their attractive surfaces blend in beautifully with the rest of the palette of textures and materials used.