With Copenhagen’s population expanding by almost 1000 new residents monthly, the city’s authorities, urban & spatial planners and architects are having to seek innovative and alternative solutions to accommodate the pressures of urban living, especially the challenges of providing child-care physical environments. Kids’ City, is undoubtedly Copenhagen’s most ambitious pre-school, day care centre and youth club to date, that hosts, nurtures and inspires just over 700 children and teenagers from the ages of 0-18. Rather than creating one vast, sterile entity, the team behind the project, a collaboration between COBE, NORD Architects Copenhagen, PK3 Landscape Architects and Grontmij, have created their own version of a city designed for children that focuses on scale, diversity and interestingly the concept of “neighborhood”. By creating a cluster of distinctive, multi-functional small-scaled buildings with outdoor elements that represent parks, public spaces and plazas, Kids’ City is quickly developing its own unique neighborhood identity.
The location in Christianshavn, Copenhagen’s oldest and one of its most densely populated districts, is also something of a minor miracle. A complex triangle plot of 11,000m², with Christiania on the one side, a canal and a busy street on the others, the architectural, engineering and landscape team have created an intelligent template for future child care centers in our urban centers. The inspiration of the design details, materials and spatial layout draw heavily on the diversity of its locality and naturally from its neighbors in Freetown Christiania. Kid’s City even has its own “floating” basketball court, a yellow cage perched on two roofs, not only providing valuable recreational space, but an iconic entrance to the centre. Watching the kids play in this secure and inspiring spatial environment was evidence enough of how far we come from my regimental school years to what can be achieved when designing our institutions for our children.