To get upstairs in a new community center in Copenhagen, you can climb up a vertical wooden maze or scale a rock-climbing wall; to get back down, you can take a slide or a fire pole, or climb down a giant net.
Instead of including a typical gym, the building is designed to automatically make people want to play. Kids are welcome, of course, but so are adults. "When you walk inside you can see all these different zones, six different volumes, each with different activities," says Martin Krogh, co-founder of Adept, the architecture firm that worked on the design with MVRDV, a Dutch firm.
"You stand in between, in this void that we call the play zone," he says. "With very large [windows] you can see all of the different activities, and maybe you can be inspired to try something new."
Inside the six zones, completely different things can happen simultaneously—a concert in one area won't disturb a silent yoga class in another. When someone enters, instead of a reception desk, the building has guides that lead visitors from activity to activity.
As you wander through, it's possible to see what's happening on other floors, and those views are designed to keep you trying new ways to exercise.
Some of the design elements might work in other types of buildings—such as offices trying to convince employees to be more active.
"I would say many of these ideas could be used somewhere else," says Krogh. "But it's a new typology that we didn't see used anywhere else. So it's also an experiment for us to see how it works."
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[Photos: Adam Mørk]