Hidden challenges

A new major extension has been added to the Damhuset childcare institution in Risskov, a suburb of Aarhus, Denmark. The new extension faces another street, giving Damhuset a new face to the world.

Troldtekt acoustic panels as wall cladding in childcare institution
Photo: Helene Høyer Mikkelsen, architect

Damhuset is situated opposite Bindesbøll Byen, a new residential district that is being built around the former psychiatric hospital originally designed by the Danish architect Gottlieb Bindesbøll in the mid-1800s. The new district is attracting more families with children to the neighbourhood, and Damhuset has therefore added a third wing.

The oldest part of the childcare institution is a villa from 1908, designed by Hack Kampmann as a residence attached to the hospital. A wing was previously added to the villa, and the latest extension results in a horseshoe-shaped complex encircling the playground.

The new wing is made of light brick, interspersed with sections of wood. The four new group rooms have their own street entrance. This is partly for convenience, but also gives the new wing its own identity.

Good indoor climate

The project of adding a third wing to Damhuset was not without its challenges, but there are no signs of these when you visit the building. The perimeters of the building were strictly defined, and a three-metre height difference is a lot to integrate into a building.

The result is an attractive and functional building, where the group rooms face the playground, and the passageway has been widened to create spaces where temporary workshops can be set up, or an ongoing game can be left to be resumed later.

The passageway, like the group rooms, needs good acoustics, and that is why Troldtekt acoustic panels were chosen as the primary sound-absorbing solution. The group rooms have been paired, with bathrooms and quiet rooms placed between them.

Natural light also plays a key role for people’s comfort. Large windows along the passageway let in daylight in the morning, while the afternoon sun hits the large windows in the group rooms overlooking the playground.