Kids space in a solemn Baroque church: naturally joining community through playing

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A County of Dalarna lies in the middle part of Sweden, with about 280,000 populations. Riding on a train for about three hours and you arrive “Sweden’s cultural heart and soul”,  with the scenery from your childhood, beautiful lakes and mountains, and also a live traditional culture.

In the county there is a municipality Leksand Commune with about 15,000 inhabitants, which is a sister city to Tobetsu, Hokkaido. In the municipality you find the company Tomoku Hus AB exporting prefabricated houses to Sweden House Company Ltd., one of its owners who markets and sells the houses in Japan. Wood and wood products is consisting a big part of industry in the region together with tourism.

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Walking through woods for five minutes from the city center, you find Leksand Church, one of the biggest regional church. It is quite a traditional church: while the current building was built in the eighteenth century, its oldest part was built in the thirteenth century. I stepped into the church and by coincidence found such a fun space again.

A solemn Baroque church with 2,300 seats

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From outside it is a cute building with onion-shaped dome influenced by Russian architecture together with a light beige wall paint.

Once you enter inside, on the contrary, it has a solemn atmosphere. The air suddenly becomes cooler.

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While it has a solemn atmosphere, the decorations are in a Baroque style and quite brilliant.

Walk towards the altar and look back towards the entrance, and you find another brilliant pipe organ and drawings.

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Apparently you can go upstairs from the staircases on the right hand side.

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From the upstairs you can overlook the whole floors. It says they have 2,300 seats in total, and many of the seats are on the upstairs as well.

…And then,

I found a space, rather colorful, at the back of the seats downstairs. (Can you see purple, red and green next to the pillar in the middle of the photo?)

I went down the staircases to find such a cosy space! It seems the space is for kids.

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Books and boardgames related to Bibles, among the ordinary toys and books

There are many toys and books in a kids space!

It is often difficult for small kids to sit on the chair and be quiet during the worships. With a kids space like this, however, parents could be more relaxed to take children to the church.

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There are clothes which look like costumes of saints. At the book corner, you find books related to Bibles among the books on animals, traditional stories etc.

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“BARNENS BIBEL (Children’s Bible)”

A board game on the table as well, seems to be related to the religion with angels and stars.

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What was surprising was that, the space was right behind the adult’s seats, without any partition or boundary.

While adults are doing worships, children are playing in the same room. When children get interested, they touch the world of bibles or religions, and join what the adults are doing. When they get bored, they go back to the play.

The place was designed as such.

Every children has a different trigger to get interested in what is going on among adult’s community.
It is also different when they get interested in it.

It seemed that they have the same philosophy at the bottom, the kids corner at the library and at the church: Children get involved in the community at their own pace through having fun.

We will keep exploring how places are designed, especially for children.

 

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