Located in the heart of vibrant neighbourhood, “De Gamles By” – literally “The city of the old” – used to be the end destination for senior citizens in Copenhagen. Today the area is a showcase of age-integrated diversity. People of all ages meet and share the green gardens, which feature goats, rabbits, chickens and vegetable gardens for local schoolchildren. Among the beautiful red-brick homes for the elderly, this lush green garden village is home to Forfatterhuset – a kindergarten organized around large mature trees like potted plants on a terrace. The green plot is divided into smaller and more intimate zones of gardens, lively play zones, roof terraces and quiet niches. Forfatterhuset is simultaneously a playground and a building, a park and an institution. This is a kids’ world to discover and explore.

Located in one of the densest areas of Copenhagen, De Gamles By is a melting pot for social interventions. Besides being a neighbourhood for seniors, the area is home to five daycare institutions, allotment gardens for the neighbouring public school, an open space for a high school plus a neighbourhood petting zoo.

In 20 years, both the share of children living in Copenhagen and the share of seniors have increased dramatically. Studies show many mutual benefits when nursing homes and daycare institutions share facilities. Today, more than 100,000 elderly people are defined as being involuntarily lonely, and 2% of all deaths are linked to negative side effects of loneliness.

To retain the natural feeling of a green footprint on the existing site, the kindergarten is designed as a three-dimensional village where garden and building become one.

The unifying red-brick bands intuitively define and divide the institution into safe spheres for different age groups without the use of fencing.

De Gamles By is also known as The Red City, referring to the red bricks that are used throughout the development. The façade of the new kindergarten respects the historical surroundings by translating the traditional horizontal bricks of the area into slender vertical brick slats.

The façade system continues from unit to unit within the institution, surrounding the garden and playground with one simple and unifying band.

The population of children in Copenhagen has increased by more than 30,000 during the past 15 years. This has resulted in more and larger daycare institutions spanning from 0 to 6 years of age. Forfatterhuset is organized around a common space that creates a visual and physical connection vertically throughout the building, making movement between the different spaces effortless while still dividing the insitution into small units for the different age groups.

source: Office web