The Dutch architects MVRDV have never designed a normal building in their life. A towering pig farm, yes. A shotgun in New Orleans that looked, rather tastelessly, like it had collapsed in a storm, sure. So leave it to them to turn a fitness center into muscle-sprouting circus.
The House of Culture and Movement is a gym on steroids. Designed with ADEPT Architects for the Danish city Frederiksberg, west of Copenhagen, it has a theater, a health spa, a place to eat, a study and an exhibition hall, and a "Zen" center all stuffed into a single building, with parks galore outside. Here, the press release tells us, "Health, culture, leisure and education should smoothly blend together to create a spectacular architectural experience that will become a destination." Put another way: It's like Vegas for health freaks.
Here's the theater for a stirring performance from the Cirque de Soleil or whomever.
And here's the Zen center also, apparently, showcasing the Cirque de Soleil.
A play zone for little kids:
Another play zone:
A place for capoeira or whatever other multicultural dance everyone's fetishizing:
The food area:
And the sauna -- it's coed!
The building's expected to be completed in 2015, and a commercial structure and a second House of Movement are planned later down the line. These are pretty ambitious plans, of course, and it remains to be seen how much will actually be realized. But if anyone's going to get it done, it's Denmark, a place where socializing and exercising (and coed bathing) are practically built into the DNA.