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Mirrored Gables Make A Boring Building Into A Funhouse

Wrapping a graffiti-plagued kindergarten center in an entirely new skin, Danish-American architects MLRP give green design their own twist.

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One compelling approach to sustainable building is simply giving an old structure a new skin. Which is exactly what MLRP did to this formerly graffiti-covered center for visiting kindergarten classes in newly upgraded Copenhagen Park, contrasting the dark timber façade with gigantic funhouse mirrors at each end that reflect the surrounding landscape.

"This engages a play with perspective, reflection and transformation," the Danish-American architects writes. "Instead of a typical closed gable facade, the mirrored gables create a sympathetic transition between built and landscape." Shutters conceal the mirror-clad windows and doors at night, making the building appear anonymous; during the day, the building opens up to invite kids to play outside while watching their distorted images in the building’s façade.

MLRP also updated the interior with water-saving fixtures and a more efficient climate-control system. With few simple, inspired gestures and a limited budget, the architects delivered a dynamic public playground for Copenhagen’s kindergarteners.