Who says houses can’t be fun? In Copenhagen, MLRP Architects have created a funhouse that takes itself seriously. In doing so, it has elevated the architecture of the playground to serious architecture, deserving of wider consideration. Too often, architecture for children is a manifestation of adult fantasies for play. Witness the many ‘adventure’ playgrounds that plague our countryside and are built out of massive tanalised timber members that tiny hands could never grip. Or the franchised primary coloured extruded tubed miseries that pop up like acne because ‘that’s how kids see the world’. Well they will if that’s all you give them.
The Mirror House reflects – literally – the play of children. It is both striking and subtle – the ends are entirely clad in mirrors while the vertical timber sides hide a series of doors that, when opened, reveal concave and convex funhouse mirrors. Inside is a flexible space with rest rooms used by a kindergarten during the day. At night when the doors are closed, anonymity returns and the mirrored ends quietly reflect the environment in which the building sits, waiting to be reanimated by the return of the children.
What makes this house hot is its attitude to its users and to its environment. It takes children seriously and they are better for it. The house knows its place and honours it. If only architects could approach the adult world with as much commitment and consideration – imagine the wondrous world we could live in.