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Cave For Kids by Haugen/Zohar Arkitekter, Norway

Recycled materials create the profile for this thoughtful kids cave. Whilst creating a playful design, Haugen/ Zohar Arkitekter challenge ideas of reuse through sculptural devices.

Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano argues, ‘Show me how you play and I’ll tell you who you are.’ The domain of play helps children to make sense of the world by cultivating processes of experimentation and creativity. Finding ways to develop and expand the physical and social space in which this can occur is a serious task.

The Cave for Kids project at Breidablikk Kindergarten in Trondheim grew from the following starting points: children as users, a free hand in design and a miniscule budget. Being unexpectedly innovative and open-minded, children make surprisingly astute clients. Architect Haugen/Zohar’s inspiration comes from theformal and experiential qualities of natural caves, which hold the inherent capacity for you to hide, climb, explore and lose yourself within a secretive, spooky space.

Constructed using 1.5 tonnes of pre-industrial waste, the structure is a cube measuring roughly 3.7m high, which is hollowed out to create a series of nooks and tunnels. The internal spaces were gouged out by subtractive manufacturing technology (using a water jet) and then glued up in layers to reconstruct the milled form. The waste material is open-cell foam left over from the production processes of automotive design (dashboards, doors), manufacturing (shoes) and industrial packaging. This raw material, which would otherwise have been burned or sent to landfill, was collected from various foam manufacturers throughout Europe, broken down into small chunks and thermally bonded to create a new end product, like a foam version of terrazzo. The jury was seduced by the project’s ingenuity and how ordinary leftover materials were put to a dynamic new use.

Architect Haugen/Zoha Arkitekter
Photographs Grethe Fredrikse

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