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Børnehuset Svanen


The Swan

The world’s first circular kindergarten

The Swan is the world’s first sustainable kindergarten – a children’s house for the future based on the past and on a pioneering sustainability project. The children’s house is built as a circular structure, where part of the materials from the former Gladsaxe School are recycled, which means that waste quantities are minimized and the carbon accounts are reduced.

“This solution redefines today’s building methods and is an inspiration for the future. It is a beautiful meeting between architecture and a visionary municipality. It shows what a public authority can achieve if it is willing to fight for the right solutions. It raises the bar for what is possible in a municipal and urban context and gives a whole area a new image,” to quote from the comments in the nomination for Danish Design Award 2021.

Gladsaxe Municipality
Gladsaxe Municipality
Architect and landscape architect consulting from and including authority project to submission: Design management, design, sustainability management, quality management, professional supervision, project follow-up and submission
1270 m²
Ason A/S | Aksel V. JensenRådgivende Ingeniører

Nordic Swan Ecolabelled and circular structure

The Gl. Gladsaxe School from 1937 dates from a time when many materials offer good opportunities for upcycling with a variety of unproblematic materials for recycling, especially brick and rafters. We use the upcycled materials where they contribute most identity to the project. Here, materials can change identity and enter into a new context, for example through the design of furniture or spaces made of upcycled materials. For example, outdoor play equipment from the children’s house Børnehuset ved Fortet is also recycled in the new children’s house. Materials that are not used in the children’s house are channelled into other buildings in the municipality. Circularity ensures that we reduce our footprint by using materials with already embedded footprints of resource extraction, transport and construction process.

Lendager has been responsible for the consultancy in the process up to the project proposal.

“Svanen has been developed with an ambitious agenda in both upcycling and Nordic Swan Ecolabelling, which is an important goal for buildings for children and young people in the Municipality of Gladsaxe,” says Eva Bjerring, Market Manager at Sweco Architects.

Small groups and community

The children’s house consists of two wings that extend from the large unheated orangery. Each wing houses four groups, each with its own room, and a larger common room, from which there are views of and access to the courtyard. The interior layout and arrangement mean that the children can be part of smaller groups as well as part of the community across the groups.

The house is also divided into different zones with different atmospheres, so that the children can have different experiences and activity opportunities during the day. The outdoor areas are adapted to the new conditions with new access and parking area as well as a playground with learning spaces for nursery children and kindergarten children, respectively. The layout of the recreational spaces and the design of the play equipment are inspired by the playground of Børnehuset ved Fortet, and has also been adapted for children with special needs.