Marthagården is one of Denmark’s most sustainable kindergartens! The kindergarten is an addition to and renovation of the Danish Deaconess Foundation’s kindergarten in Frederiksberg, Copenhagen. The integrated kindergarten and crèche produces energy, grows organic food, recycles water and food waste, and sorts waste.

The kindergarten is built from healthy and environmentally sounds materials and creates the architectural surroundings for a spacious everyday life where many experiences and practical tasks take place. That Marthagården is a project for children has been very crucial for our way of working with the project, and “sustainability for children” has therefore been the main focus for the project.



1000 m²

Frederiksberg, Denmark





Villy Jønsson AS





Partner in charge: Anders Lendager

Project Leader: Morten Bang

Team: Ronnie Markussen, Sebastian Faurschou


Marthagården used to consist of two older building that despite their status as one institution, practically functioned as two. The project is comprised of a renovation of the old buildings as well as an extension.

A survey showed that 75% of the parents deliver their children by bike, making it meaningful to open up to the green bicycle route that runs along the playground.

A new main entrance facing the green area gives the users good facilities for arriving by bike with plenty of space for parking – even large cargo bikes that have become increasingly popular.

In conjunction with the new arrival areas, the new heart of the institution is created. The common entrance creates a space for social meetings between parents, children, teachers, kitchen personnel etc.

In the middle of the institution’s new heart Marthagården’s new focal point is placed, ‘The Healthy Kitchen’. From here a range of sustainable initiatives and games originate and spread throughout the buildings. The organic kitchen sorts waste, grows fruit and vegetables, composts and uses eggs from their own hens.

By reusing the existing buildings and the space in between, a new and distinctive architecture appears – with small houses, new spaces, new places for rest in the sun, shade and shelter.

Between the new functions a flexible dry-foot connection is established which acts as a buffer zone between the houses. The new connection creates new spatial opportunities which prolong the warm months.


Socially ‘Sustainability for children’ is about creating an institution with many social meetings and a high level of flexibility. A social kindergarten is a place where many experiences and activities shape the schedule of the day for the children at Marthagården. The kindergarten will thereby be able to activate and engage children, parents and staff daily through the disposition of the architecture.


1/ To be, to live and to learn are guiding principles.
2/ To create a healthy indoor climate through the use of natural materials and utilization of passive properties such as sun, wind, water and greenery.

3/ To create the basis for happy children and adults through a healthy food culture.

4/ To create an organic children’s community with stimulation for all six senses.

5/ To create a diverse Marthagårde through social sustainability for children, starting with ‘one institution, one entrance, one identity’.

6/ To work with spatial recycling and rational value creation in the existing buildings.

7/ To use the passing of seasons to change the usage patterns of the buildings.

8/ To make it easy to chose to arrive by bike to the institution.

9/ To reduce the energy consumption of the building so that it creates more energy than it uses.

10/ To create a children’s town in the town, in a scale that creates possibilities for exploration, activities and flexibility.


Sustainability for children is about planting the seeds for a sustainable and healthy lifestyle already at an early age. Through actions that appeal to the senses, the concepts are brought down to a level where they can be seen, felt, heard, tasted and smelt – a level that the children can grasp. In this way many of the new functions work with sustainable cycles and processes that can be sensed.


We create large amounts of organic waste that can be composted. With a compost system it is possible to use this into a rich source of nutrition for growing new plants. At the same time it saves the environment from a lot of waste, since it does not have to be picked up for disposal any more.

Apart from learning about food waste, the composting system teaches the children about the food cycle. In the kitchen of learning children can join in doing gardening, cooking or taking care of the chickens. This gives them an understanding of nature, and they see that eggs do not come from a factory, and that vegetables do not magically appear in the supermarket.


In the new arrival space there is a board where you can see the healthy menu for the children, what is happening in the nature workshops and how it is going in the greenhouse. It is all about proudly informing about and inspiring to a more sustainable way of living.