Where natural light comes first

‘Smilehullet’ – a new childcare institution in Beder, south of Aarhus, Denmark – is characterised by appealing spatial variation as well as a flexible layout. The compact building has is own sculptural identity.

Troldtekt acoustic panels on ceilings in kindergarten
Photo: Helene Høyer Mikkelsen, architect

Smilehullet (Danish for ‘dimple’) has three group rooms for children aged 0-3 and three rooms for children of kindergarten age. The rooms are placed symmetrically along the façades and are centred around a communal room, cloakrooms and bathrooms. The building is oriented towards the large playground to the west, so there is easy access to the outdoors.

The group rooms are proportioned to allow for flexible layouts and multiple uses. Space has been made for bay windows, a rough-and-tumble room and other small spatial variations, despite the overall clarity of the floor plan. All group rooms feature Troldtekt ceilings, creating a comfortable acoustic environment.

All staff facilities and offices are located in a loft space, which contributes to the atypical design idiom of the building.

Several types of Troldtekt

Between the central communal room and one of the cloakrooms, the wall can be folded aside to accommodate larger events at Smilehullet. The cloakrooms are mobile, which allows the floor to be cleared when needed.

Architect Jeppe Kortegård from Arkitekter Johansen & Rasmussen A/S says that the central part of the building with the communal room and cloakroom facilities has been designed with a higher ceiling height to allow high windows to be installed. This differentiation also contributes to the formal design identity of the building.

Additional acoustic control has been incorporated in the high-ceilinged rooms in the form of the design solution Troldtekt line on the walls. The simple Troldtekt line acoustic panels capture the natural light and produce a varied experience of the cloakrooms and the communal room.