MASU Planning: The raised, shielded garden at Frederiksberg is a green oasis for people with special needs. In only a small footprint, the garden offers carefully designed sense stimulation on the user’s own terms.
Magneten provides treatment in Copenhagen for adults with physical and mental disability. The institution lies near a recreational park but going there is difficult for most users – and impossible for some – because of the parks openness and a lack of control of the many activities taking place at once. Magneten Sensory Garden is a protected garden on deck that provides a variety of experiences that can be used in treatment and a garden that brings happiness and joy to the everyday life of its users.
Therapists and users wanted a shielded sensory garden that all users could enjoy and which could be used in treatment. This garden should include smaller intimate spots for one-on-one sessions, larger spaces for group activities and areas for physical activities like balance exercises. Most importantly, the garden needed to accommodate a multitude of nature experiences to stimulate all senses.
Our raised garden provides a controlled environment and the best possible foundation to support the treatment methods at Magneten. An important part of the treatment method, is to strategically limit sensory input. Too many impressions make it impossible for users to experience anything, but in a calm, controlled space, they can focus and enjoy a specific sensory impression.
For some users, this is their only way of enjoying nature, here’s a calm space to smell the flowers, feel the rain and experiencing sun and sky. Being in the middle of Copenhagen, space is a limited resource and this garden needed truly to be a green oasis throughout the year. Creating a garden on deck is a perfect way to use a space twice and, in this case, it was the answer to meet the wishes of users and therapists. With the garden on deck it was possible to maintain all the parking spots.
The garden consists of three areas: a vegetable garden, a bonfire garden, and a flower garden. The three gardens vary in size and each stimulates different senses. In the vegetable garden, a greenhouse prolongs the season. Around the greenhouse, raised beds for vegetables, beehives, fruit trees and bushes produce edible results. The bonfire garden and the greenhouse play important roles as gathering points and in winter activities. The greenhouse needs caretaking all year round for one-on-one planting sessions, weeding in groups or just tasting the ripe tomatoes in summer. Gathering in the bonfire garden, users can participate in a conversation and suck up the warmth and the smell of wood. The flower garden is the most shielded and intimate area, where lush plantings display an assortment of smells and colors to stimulate the senses. Users can promenade between the raised flowerbeds or retreat to a more secluded niche. The features of the flower garden change throughout the seasons.
When you arrive at the parking lot, whether by car, on foot or on a bicycle, the raised garden floats above the asphalt surface and the pillars visually intertwine with the trees in the nearby park. Being in the raised garden, you are lifted away from the visually dominant parking lot with a view of Grøndals Park. The shielded garden appears to intertwine with the park.
The organic form of the garden is in contrast with the surrounding orthogonal buildings and its irregular shape emphasizes the meandering path. A transparent shield-structure underlines the organic form, and in time climbing plants will take over the fence and emphasize the experience of a floating oasis.
Office: MASU Planning
Office role: Main consultant
Team: AI Gruppen
Location: Frederiksberg, Denmark
Design year: 2015
Year of construction: 2017
Area: 3,500 m2
Budget: 10,000,000 DKR / 1.339.570 EUR
Client: Frederiksberg Municipality
Image credits: Kirstine Autzen