Trampoline House

The Trampoline House (Trampolinhuset in Danish) is a very cool place.  It is located in the Norrebro neighbourhood of Copenhagen on Skyttegade, not far from where I live.  The Trampoline House is a non-profit culture house intended to be used by both asylum seekers and Danes (or, presumably expat Canadians as well) .  You know, I am not ashamed to say that the website puts it best: "The Trampoline House is a self-organized, non-profit, user-driven culture house, where asylum seekers, refugees, and Danish citizens can meet, share experiences, and learn from one another"

I am not very knowledgeable about the asylum system in Denmark but I do know that the majority of accommodation/open centres are isolated in the countryside, relatively far from major urban centres such as Copenhagen.  A place such as the Trampoline House has the potential to fill a huge gap in the lives of asylum seekers in Denmark as well as build bridges and understanding between migrants and the general public.  The house offers services that asylum seekers may not be able to access at or near the accommodation centres such as social and legal counseling, Danish language courses, IT classes, and hair and makeup classes, as well as activities that could be enjoyed by anyone such as film screenings, lectures and debates, and social gatherings.  The House also contains a kitchen, a lounge, a children's play area, and a meeting room.  There is also a magazine on migration and asylum called visAvis that is published on the premises.  The House apparently reimburses any transportation costs incurred by visiting asylum seekers.

The House grew out of a series of brainstorming and workshop sessions held at the accommodation centres that involved both Danes (including students and non-profit workers) and asylum seekers which I think is an admirable way to go about designing such a place.  Now about the design of Trampoline House:  as you can see from the photos it is a simple, bright, clean, cheerful space, and most importantly, unmolested by big-A "Architecture" or big A (as in asshole) "Architects."  As far as I could tell the only "design concepts" at work are openness and inclusiveness and that is okay with me because it works.  The House is meant to be self-organizing and run by the people that use it (although there are a few permanent administrative staff) and this includes the physical space.  I was told by one of the permanent staff that the House was deliberately left "unfinished" after it opened so that there would be opportunities for the users to personalize the space and offer suggestions for altering its design.  This is a very smart idea as it opens the possibility for the Trampoline House to reflect the cultural backgrounds and interests of the users.  By simply leaving the space loose and adaptable, Trampoline House has given asylum seekers (and Danes, expats, or whoever) some much-needed agency and a space that they can tailor to their own needs.  Now that is fucking A-Awesome and that is fucking A- Architecture.