A little town for children

An inspiring and original daycare centre that blends naturally with its surroundings to create its own microcosm.

Troldtekt, Midgard
Photo: Thomas Mølvig, architect

Here, situated between the small town of Tølløse and the surrounding, undulating countryside lies ‘Midgård’ – or Middle Earth. The building is a wonderful mix of archetypal farmhouse and a circular building with a pitched roof. In fact, it actually sweeps through 270 degrees, thereby forming an inner closed courtyard. On the outside, the building is clad in black roofing felt on the façades and roofs, while the inner courtyard – Asgard – has a more intimate and warmer feel, which can largely be ascribed to the extensive use of Siberian larch.

Young creative forces

COBE is one of the leading young architectural firms which have been described as ‘the new wave in Danish architecture’. Their most noteworthy designs include Nørreport Station in Copenhagen, the BIBLIOTEKET library in north-west Copenhagen and the master plan for Paper Island in Copenhagen harbour. The nursery and kindergarten – Børnehuset – in Tølløse is thus one of the smaller projects in the firm’s portfolio covering just 1,350 square metres.  

According to COBE, Midgård can be described as a small, compact and exciting place for children, yet which is very manageable for the employees. The building combines individual, scaled-down and recognisable features with all the benefits of a large and integrated institution. One coherent workplace, which comprises nine small units in the building, and which altogether contains 190 small universes.

Rational, versatile building

Midgård’s spatial organisation is truly original. The main corridor lies innermost within the circle, and thus keeps the distances between the different sections of the building to a minimum. At certain points, this narrow passage opens up into communal areas with an adjoining kitchen. From the communal areas, there is always an uninterrupted view of the courtyard area, and on warm sunny days, the doors can be opened, so that outside and inside blend together. The group rooms are located along the outer façade wall with direct contact to the large natural playground.

In such a big institution, the sound environment is a challenge, but the ambition was to achieve a better reverberation time than the 0.4 seconds specified by the building regulations. As an acoustic absorber, Troldtekt acoustic panels were thus chosen for the ceilings. The panels are – very unusually – installed with an overlap. The ceiling panels were cut to size on site, but only on that side which lies concealed beneath the next panel. In this way, they follow the circular design of the building, while avoiding the need to finish the cut edge afterwards.