Magic Carpet

Urban areas like Copenhagen growing at 2% per year will experience a population growth of 20% within the next 10 years. At this rate, development takes place rapidly, while new needs for improved usage of existing structures emerge.

Tucked amidst residential, sports- and industrial areas of southern Copenhagen, the HAY School has been confronted with a steady growing number of pupils during the past years.

The pupils have good access to football facilities and public green areas nearby. The modest, grey and worn out school courtyard spaces however, are not stimulating for play and everyday exercise. In the same time, an improved usage of the outdoor areas is a high priority, in order to meet the demands of a growing number of pupils.

Double usage

MUTOPIA’s analysis of the site and brief led to a number of different conclusions, which together formed the basis for defining the task: the desire for optimized use of outdoor space, combining differentiated functions targeting both individual and group usage and different activity ‘intensities’ with a meeting space for all the 350 pupils and a double usage of the activity’s foot print.

Central space

The current usage patterns of the main courtyard are concentrated in the areas close to the facades and outer wall. By placing a ‘carpet’ in the middle of the courtyard, a central place with a homely feel is created, visible from all the surrounding school buildings, and with a direct connection to the school hall. The carpet defines the central meeting space as the main activity area, with the bordering areas as activity ‘pockets’.

Bent surface

By ‘bending’ the carpet, a compelling topography for meeting and play is created. The emerging bended figure connects the ground with an unused terrace, which will accommodate a glasshouse, by means of a continuous route, while in the same time creating a covered sheltered place underneath.


By breaking down the carpet surface into pixels, a variety of multi-use surfaces emerges. ‘Transparent’ pixels are established to bring light under the carpet, and secure multiple visual connections. A bright pattern adds colour to the grey courtyard, while providing a basis for letter hunt activities. Some of the pixels are turned into storage for toys and play equipment.

Magic Carpet

The ‘Magic Carpet’ stages social, physical and learning activities by providing a highly attractive landscape of 100 opportunities. It provides a tribune overlooking the area adjacent to the hall, a future central stage for asphalt games and school meetings, while in the same time providing different levels of interaction with the bordering areas. It provides opportunities for tumbling on ‘soft hills’, crawling, climbing or simply relaxing underneath, in an area sheltered from rain, thereby ‘extending’ the season for outdoor activities. It provides a differentiation of exposed ‘high velocity’ and sheltered ‘slow’ activity areas. It provides numerous opportunities for organized and informal activities and being together by mediating between groups and individuals and adding a ‘touch’ of everyday magic.

Client: HAY Skolen

Program: Retrofit of schoolyard

Year: 2015

Location: Copenhagen SW

Team: Serban Cornea, Kristina Jordt Adsersen, Henrik Ulsfort, Marcin Kruk, Azra Mehmed Basic

Status: Commission