Sensory orangeries at Solgaven

Solgaven in Valby, Copenhagen, is a residential care facility specifically for blind and visually impaired residents. The architecture and interiors of the complex are therefore designed to support residents in their daily lives, making sure they feel at home in the building and can easily find their way around.

Ceilings with Troldtekt acoustic panels in healthcare buildings
Photo: Helene Høyer Mikkelsen, architect

Each care facility unit comprises 25-34 apartments across two floors. This is reflected in the colour scheme. Thus, the ground floor is sand-coloured, the next two floors have green walls, doors and floors, then follow two yellow floors and two blue floors.  The colours are meant to imitate the outdoors, representing sand, grass, sun and sky.

Double-height rooms connect the same-coloured floors, which contributes to a strong sense of cohesion and spatiality in the building. A staircase connects the two floors and is also intended to be used by blind and visually impaired residents to practise walking on stairs.

The three double-height rooms have been arranged like orangeries featuring plants in raised beds by the stairs and growing on the double-height wall with wooden strips. High windows ensure pleasant natural light conditions in the communal area as well as views of the city to the north and south.

Graphic wall

One wall is clad in wooden strips to create a vertical garden and the opposite wall in Troldtekt rhombs in hues to match the colour scheme of the respective floors.

Thus, the blue Troldtekt rhomb wall is composed of several shades of blue to produce a decorative graphic element that can be experienced from both floors. At the same time, the Troldtekt rhombs, along with the long curtains, ensure acoustic regulation, making the orangeries comfortable rooms to be in.

For the two architectural firms involved, CUBO and Force4, wayfinding has been a unifying principle of the interior design and has been incorporated into e.g. the use of colours and materials in a way that activates all the senses.