We live in times with an increasing need to lift welfare tasks across sectors. Four out of ten Danes are involved in volunteer work, totalling an estimated 900,000 daily work hours representing a value of more than DKK 200 mill. a day. The Danish Red Cross numbers 32,000 volunteers alone, handling important social tasks. To celebrate the huge potential of activating the civil society, the extension to the organization’s headquarters had to be an open, generous and democratic building. Shaped as a triangle with a publicly accessible roof surface, the Volunteer House is designed with the ambition of being inviting and encouraging passers-by to come in and explore. This is a building for the Red Cross volunteers to meet and share knowledge, but it is also a public space for everyone.

The building is intended for involvement and commitment and is an important meeting place for anyone wishing to contribute to the Red Cross' efforts to help people in need.

How to design a building for thousands of users? A group of volunteers from the Red Cross was involved in shaping the building throughout the design phase.

The building is a celebration of the overarching goal of creating incentives for civil engagement in the world. The overlap of civil, public and private interest in creating a social sustainable society.

The shared goal for everyone involved in the process was to end up with a building that gave back new quality to the street, the park and the surrounding urban space by adding something extra.

The users agreed that the roof of the Volunteer House should be an active part of the building – a fifth façade. South-facing stands for the public to relax and enjoy the sun.

The heart of the Volunteer House is defined by the open foyer space that connects to all levels of the building.

Urban life is invited up and into the building, where the activities of the inside are put on display through carved-out openings in the large roof surface.

source: Office web