Childrens House Havdrup


The third Teacher

  • LocationHavdrup, DK
  • ProgramNursery and kindergarten
  • Client Municipality of Solrød
  • Size1.365 m²
  • YearConstruction project, Completion 2020
  • Collaborators Kim Olsson, Martin Funch, Nova5, Lassen Landskab
  • ContractorElindco

The circular design of Havdrup's new children's house provides direct access to both the inner court and the surrounding landscape, which makes it easy for both children and adults to navigate the building. A competition was put out to find a name for the institution, and the users came up with 'The Fairytale Garden' - a perfect name for an exiting house, where every common room has a view towards cultivated garden or wilder nature. When we suggested to place a tree in the heart of the complex, as a fix-point near the entrance, Lassen Landscape picked a beautiful pink cherry tree. The inner courtyard contains raised plant beds on wheels that provide herbs, plants and vegetables for the kitchen. The Fairytale Garden provides ideal settings for the children to experience nature and understand, that they themselves are part of it.

In the Childrens House Havdrup children are brought up in the spirit of the Reggio Emilia approach. A philosophy that focuses on the close relationships between child and environment; “There are three teachers of children: adults, other children, and their physical environment,” the latter of which is subsequently referred to as the Third Teacher. As I reflect on my own early education which was traditional and top down, it is clear that the physical environment was not a valued source of teaching or considered as an influential medium. (Loris Malaguzzi)
As architects, it is essential to consider the ways in which our work not only shapes the physical environment, but also – perhaps
inadvertently – functions as the Third Teacher.

Groundbreaking ceremony, 2019

We want the children to experience that their own nature is part of a bigger nature


In the morning, parents, children and staff arrive through the generous storm door at the main entrance which establishes a transit between wet and dry area. From here you have access to the main circulation area of the kindergarten that leads to the wardrobes of the kindergarten and nursery and further on to the different functions of the building. The entrance in the center of the house is used by everyone, including staff. The compact building style means that there is a short distance from entrance to wardrobe, from wardrobe to group room and on to all other functions in the house including the outdoor areas.


From the common area that is equipped with a children’s kitchen, you have a view over the entrance area and storm door. Here you can see who is coming and going and watch the childrens’ play in the inner courtyard. On the opposite side of the building, you have contact to the playground in the surrounding garden.

The multi-room is in open connection to the common area and is near the circulation area, preparation room and inner courtyard. This makes the area hyper flexible and encourages theatre play, physical activity and creative expression for larger groups.