A centre for learning and living for children and the elderly

Huset Nyvang is situated in the Danish town of Randers and houses a nursing home and integrated daycare centre under one roof.

Being one of the first of its kind, the project has called for respect and a special understanding of the special needs of the different generations of users.

Architect Kristina Møller Hansen from Friis & Moltke explains the design considerations behind the project in an interview.

Children spend many hours in daycare institutions each week. This calls for layouts which can support learning as well as play that can be both very active and noisy. Activity levels are, of course, markedly different among elderly residents with dementia – but the two groups can still benefit greatly from being together. It all depends on the children and the elderly being able to spend time together in the right environment. At Huset Nyvang, in the Danish town of Randers, they know all about this.

“There are countless examples of the way in which encounters between children and the elderly can be a source of joy and added value. At Huset Nyvang, we have gone one step further and have built a centre that brings together the two generations under one roof,” explains Kristina Møller Hansen, an architect with Friis & Moltke.

The project is one of the first of its kind and in 2017 received the Danish Healthcare Construction Prize, which is awarded by Nohrcon. C.C. Contractor has been the turnkey contractor for the project, which was designed by Friis & Moltke. 

Intergenerational encounters

Huset Nyvang is divided into three units – a ‘residential area’ with units for the nursing home residents, a service building, and finally an integrated daycare institution. The latter has room for around 130 children aged 0-5 years. The aim has been to ensure the highest possible degree of integration and enable social interaction and activity across generations. Central facilities such as the kitchen and an orangery have therefore been placed between the two units, and are open for traffic in both directions.

“It is most often the children who visit the elderly. Inside, they can meet in the orangery, for example, where the children can paint or engage in other activities. Outside, the children like to explore the paths between the residential units,” says Kristina Møller Hansen.

These meeting places allow the children to be creative and active, while the elderly can either join in or observe. The partially covered square is a good example of this. As is the adventure path that connects the residential units. Sensory gardens and orchards have been established, which are greatly enjoyed by both generations.

“The aim has been to create environments for living. The elderly may not actively participate, but they greatly enjoy being able to observe all the activity from a distance,” says Kristina Møller Hansen.


A playful design

A key aim has been to create a playful and varied architectural expression. The building twists in different directions, creating small pockets inside for activities like a ball pool and a mirror room. The kindergarten and nursery are connected by a passageway with differently themed rooms.

“Ceiling heights vary in the rooms, depending on how many people they are intended for. From the outside these architectural ‘buds’ together with windows at varying heights add further to the playful look,” says Kristina Møller Hansen.

Large window sections blur the traditional division between indoors and outdoors. As do the many covered patios which connect the daycare centre’s group rooms with the outdoor play areas.


Bright, modern and robust

Unlike the nursing home, which radiates homeliness and familiarity for the benefit not least of residents with dementia, there has been a focus in the daycare centre on creating a bright and modern look. The colourful linoleum floors are the only elements to break with the stylish design.

“There’s an old preconception that daycare institutions should look like a fun house. The children should be allowed to add their own touches to the rooms with drawings, paintings and other home-made creations. The walls and ceilings have therefore been kept simple and bright,” explains Kristina Møller Hansen.

Robustness has been an important parameter in the choice of materials, as the centre has to withstand the children’s everyday activities. All the materials are durable, while also contributing to a healthy indoor climate. Acoustic panels from Troldtekt have therefore been installed on the ceilings and on a number of walls in the daycare centre.

“Children are both noisy and highly active. This calls for rooms with good acoustics. The pale acoustic panels create an attractive uniformity throughout the institution – especially in the activity rooms, where they extend all the way to the floor. They also create a superior acoustic indoor climate that supports the children’s play,” says Kristina Møller Hansen.

FACTS: About Huset Nyvang

  • Huset Nyvang, an integrated daycare centre, opened in February 2018.
  • The centre has room for around 130 children aged 0-5 years.
  • C.C. Contractor has been the turnkey contractor for the project, which was designed by Friis & Moltke.
  • The building received the Danish Healthcare Construction Prize in 2017. This prize is awarded by Nohrcon.

Architects: Friis & Moltke Architects
Client: Municipality of Randers

Troldtekt products
Ceiling panels: Troldtekt and Troldtekt Plus acoustic panels
Colour: White 101
Structure: Ultrafine (1.0 mm wood wool)
Edge design: 5 mm bevelled edges, K
Installation: With Troldtekt screws

>> Read more about the project in Troldtekt's reference section

Theme: Build better childcare institutions

The number of children is on the rise in several northern European countries, and thus also the need for new childcare institutions. It is important to take the children’s perspective in the design of the new institutions, and for the architecture to support the development of mind and body.

On this theme page, Troldtekt A/S focuses on how to build better childcare institutions.