Karin Dom

The desire of Karin Dom for a place where children with special needs and their families feel free, together with the highly specialized and functionally introverted programme is a challenging task. How to combine protection with comfort, specialized with comprehensive or individual with common? How to create the feeling of one home for seemingly incompatible and diverse services: medical, social, educational? How to retain the strong spirit and legacy of the first building of Karin Dom in the new one?

The project introduces a broader concept of specialized care in a living organism that fuses healthcare and learning with play and joy of experiencing the world. A concept that goes beyond the specific requirements of the enclosed rooms but includes a sense of openness, friendship and community.

The new building of Karin Dom is developed as a single volume in the cradle of the lush greenery of the site. A fluent volume that embraces a piece of that nature granting a generously open space. The perception of a free environment is enhanced also from the common inner spaces around the courtyard. These are imagined as places where children and parents could find relaxation and withdraw when needed. Such spaces are important for the general inclusive learning environment, but also for building the sense of being among friends.

The project carefully considers the need for a comfortable and healthy environment. The big windows and glazed facade towards the inner courtyard bring abundant natural light in and allow for constant cross ventilation for all the premises.

With its outer wooden skin, the building integrates itself into the grammar of the existing urban grove. The wooden cladding over a coloured breathable facade membrane contributes to the relative privacy of the activities inside but at the same time gives a living appearance. Once in Karin Dom, though, one could embrace at a glance the whole building and its life through the inner glass skin.