A wooden orphanage for the troubled children

More home, less institution

Published: 23/10/2015 00:00

Metsä Wood supplied wooden construction materials and it's expertise for social care initiative "The Children's Home of the Future" in Kerteminde, Denmark. The orphanage was built with focus on creating a beautiful and safe environment for troubled children and young people.

The concept of the building was designed in close collaboration with the architects from CEBRA, Kerteminde Municipality and the children themselves who helped to determine the building's qualities and the unique homely character. CEBRA is a both young and experienced Danish architectural design practice, based in Aarhus.

Kerteminde's children's house is a pioneering project for an entirely new type of 24-hour care center for marginalized children. CEBRA's concept "Our House" combines the traditional home's safe environment with new ideas and conceptions of what a children's home is and which needs it should fulfil.

One special wish for the building was to include wood in the construction along with glass, grass and bricks. It was important to CEBRA that the building design would help support a homely feeling.

Apart from the obvious wooden front and the big and warm inside vaults, the calm feeling is visible in a series of small and private cozy corners with the buildings pulled together and connected from the inside. "Our House" is basically organized as four interconnected houses in order to reduce the building's scale and to create self-contained, varied units for the different groups of residents.

This flexible concept gives the residents the opportunity to set their own mark on the arrangement, décor and use of these 'bonus spaces' according to needs and activities. In the fact the finished result appears almost like as a small wooden village.
In order to help CEBRA achieve the desired homely expression, and for Metsä Wood to exhibit the quality of wooden products like Kerto® LVL (laminated veneer lumber), the expertise and the products were made available throughout the construction project.

Another project donor, the 'AP Møller Foundation' as well as a number of local craftsmen and construction companies, all got the opportunity to experience the construction quality of Metsä Wood products.
CEBRA's plan to build with a homely expression and the wish for irregular rooms, could be realized when the construction manager Troels Tvedebrink picked Kerto® material along with other flexible Metsä Wood products.

"Used Metsä Wood products were three-pin frames made from a combination of Kerto-S rafters and Kerto-Q columns with nailed corner connections. These frames were the only products which could demonstrate the strength, the free spans and the flexibility that was desired in this project. Both steel and concrete solutions were investigated but could not do the job."

CEBRA generally found Metsä Wood's products to be more flexible, have better bearing capabilities and a path away from traditional institutional and cold surfaces.

The building was highlighted with honorable mention in the crowning of Årets Byggeri 2014, Building of the Year 2014.