Children's House and Cultural Center

  • Architect

    Kjaer & Richter - a part of Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects

  • Client

    Høje Taastrup Municipality

  • Collaborators

    C.C. Contractor, Christensen & Co. Architects, Afry Engineers, LYTT landscape

  • Location

    Taastrupgårdsvej 75, DK-2630 Taastrup

  • Area

    9,000 m2

  • Status

    Completed in 2023

  • Award

    Danish School of the Year 2023

  • Competition

    1st prize

The school as a catalyst for change

The project is designed by Kjaer & Richter - a part of Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects. 

The Children's House and Cultural Center is a central 'opening move' for the development of the Taastrupgård neighborhood, which is being transformed from an isolated, monofunctional, and vulnerable residential area into a safe and vibrant urban district. Selected residential blocks have been demolished to make room for the school, which serves as a new central gathering place in the community.

The Children's House and Cultural Center houses a 2-track school from 0th to 6th grade including after-school care, integrated daycare, music school, art school, drama school, and various sports clubs. The building is positioned as the primary anchor point on the new cultural axis in Taastrupgaard, where six existing residential blocks have been demolished to make way for the school. The cultural axis continues through the building, making it both physically, visually, and programmatically part of the neighborhood's natural everyday flow and local awareness. The building presents itself on a human scale with natural and robust materials in brick, wood, and concrete. Large openings in the facade highlight the primary entrances and invite activities indoors and outdoors. A unifying arrival plaza with parking and space for cultural and street activities is complemented by a large artificial turf field, play areas, and active rooftop terraces - all offerings that contribute to new activity in the local area.

The Children's House and Cultural Center is both a school, designed according to the latest educational principles based on 21st-century learning competencies, and a civic building with an open creative environment that supports the positive development of the neighborhood. A composition of four standalone "boxes" each represents their expertise in music, creativity, early childhood environment, and movement. The educational organization is divided into frontstage and backstage, with the open and public functions on the ground floor (frontstage) and learning environments on the upper floors (backstage). The daycare is located on the 'edge' of the frontstage, in a sheltered environment with views of the Cultural Square. Learning areas are accessed externally via local stairs and terraces, while central atriums ensure maximum internal connectivity in the building. The layout ensures a safe and manageable environment for younger children in close contact with the adult caregivers and the primary subject areas for both creative and scientific activities.

Excerpt from the jury statement: 

'The proposal builds on a fine analysis of the area's potentials and challenges and in its expression creates a break from the modular and stringent residential neighborhood. The proposal appears compact, locally rooted, and creates a very fine and clear focal point for the area's connections while ensuring inviting transitions from all sides.' 'The proposed solution demonstrates convincing architectural quality both in the overall, medium scale, and detail. The proposal is a whole dynamic cultural city that generously and equally unfolds for the various functions. The music school, art school, daycare, and drama/sports each have a solid footprint on the ground floor. Throughout, there is thought given to connection possibilities across the house's actors, expertise, and functions.’

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