Kids’ City Christianshavn

cobe kids city exterior cobe kids city exterior
A city for the
next generation

Year: First prize in competition 2012, completed 2017

Client: City of Copenhagen

Program: Nursery, daycare and after school club, age 0-15

Size: 4,670 m²

Kids’ City Christianshavn is the largest preschool and youth club in Denmark, hosting 750 children. The enlargement of facilities for children presents a significant issue. If we have to increase the sizes of our institutions to accommodate the growing population of children, how can we avoid creating generic day care factories? With this challenge in mind, this facility is designed to be a small city for kids, rather than one big building. And like Copenhagen, this new city have different neighborhoods, houses, public spaces, squares, and parks – it even has a city hall, a fire station, a restaurant, a stadium, a library, a museum, and a factory. Kids’ City Christianshavn aims to be the world’s best city for kids, celebrating the diversity of a city.

cobe kids city diagram
The world’s best
city for kids
cobe kids city diagram

Instead of increasing size and uniformity, downscaling and diversity become essential tools for creating a good environment for kids in day care.

Copenhagen is growing and so is the demand for new facilities to accomondate the growing population of children. How do we ensure welfare for the next generation without creating large day care factories?

cobe kids city aerial view

The site is a triangular plot wedged in between the freetown Christiania to the South, the urban blocks of Christianshavn to the west and Aresenaløen and the canal to the east.

cobe kids city diagram

Copenhagen is characterized by many different neighbouhoods with special buildings that carry a particular history or functional purpose.

cobe kids city diagram

Kids’ City Christianshavn is too large to conceive of as a single building. Instead, why not consider it in similar terms as Copenhagen with different neighborhoods for different age groups?

cobe kids city gif cobe kids city gif

From drawing to reality.

Copenhagen is made up of many neighbourhoods, each with special buildings that carry a particular history or meaning. These buildings provide the different areas with character and atmosphere. Kids’ City Christianshavn has been designed to reflect the city’s architectural diversity.

cobe kids city exterior
From kids’ factory
to kids’ city
cobe kids city interior
cobe kids city christiania building
cobe kids city christiania building
cobe kids city christiania building

Kids’ City Christianshavn’s next door neighbor is the self-sustaining community of Christiania. A world-famous and notorious social experiment and free city with a self-grown and playful architecture.

cobe kids city diagram

The Fire Station

cobe kids city diagram

The Town Hall

cobe kids city diagram

The Restaurant

cobe kids city diagram

The City Gate

cobe kids city diagram

The Tower

cobe kids city diagram

The Parking Garage

cobe kids city diagram

The Factory

cobe kids city diagram

The Beach Hotel

Kids’ City Christianshavn has all the iconic elements of an actual city, scaled down to kids’ size, providing the different areas with character and atmosphere.

cobe kids city playground
cobe kids city exterior

The Restaurant is where kids meet and do lunch. Directly connected to the kitchen, kids help the chef make sandwiches and slice cucumbers. The top floor is a greenhouse.

cobe kids city exterior

The Fire Station is of course bright red. Being a unifying playscape, small kids have access to the ground floor, and bigger kids have access to the top. The Fire Station also works as a garage for moon cars.

cobe kids city garden
cobe kids city garden

The Town Hall is where everyone can meet and perform a musical or have a Christmas party. On summer days, all doors open to face a wooden deck in the sun. The roof is covered in approximately 200m² integrated solarpanels.

cobe kids city exterior
cobe kids city aerial view

Facing the street, The golden City Gate spans between two buildings. While creating a covered urban space beneath, the city gate and ball cage also pays homage to another famous gate in the neighborhood, namely the entrance to the neighboring freetown, Christiania.

cobe kids city courtyard

The Kids’ City hosts an after school club, where school children spend their afternoons.

cobe kids city courtyard
A mix of ages shapes
different communities

The different neighborhoods in Copenhagen all have different types of citizens with different sets of preferences. Similarly, the Kids’ City Christianshavn addresses different groups with different needs: infants, preschool children, and school children as well as young people.

cobe kids city playground
cobe kids city playground

Incorporating variety and diversity in both indoor and outdoor spaces is absolutely essential when designing for such a mix of ages, needs, and personalities. Spaces vary in both scale and content, with both small, secure, and intimate spaces as well as big and challenging areas.

cobe kids city playground

As the children grow, they move between the different neighborhoods in the daycare facility. The idea is that the physical and visual contact between the different age groups will strengthen the overall sense of community by smoothing the transitions between the “neighbourhoods” in the “city”.

cobe kids city playground

The central plaza with the fire station for moon car parking, the construction site with play machinery, the chalk façade where kids can draw. That is the heart of Kids’ City.

cobe kids city canal
cobe kids city gym

The City Hall for kids is a common space for events like the annual Christmas tree party, Halloween, and in every day life where kids of different ages meet.

cobe kids city interior
cobe kids city interior

Double high spaces create spatial variation, and make it possible for children of different age groups to connect and interact during the day.

cobe kids city roof

Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

Client: City of Copenhagen

Program: Nursery, daycare and after school club, age 0-15

Size: 4,670 m²

Year: First prize in competition 2012, completed 2017

Collaborators: NORD Architects Copenhagen, PK3/BOGL, Sweco, Jakon

Team: Andrea Pieretti, Chloé Blain, Christian Sander, Cristina Matos, Dan Stubbergaard, Dimitrie Grigorescu, Frederik Lyng, Greta Tiedje, Hannes Kalau vom Hofe, Marianne Filtenborg, Martin Jonsbak Nielsen, Martina Pedersen, Mikkel Reedtz Morris, Milan Milenkovski, Rasmus Jessing, Rodrigo Bandini dos Santos, Rune Boserup.

Photographer: Rasmus Hjortshøj - COAST