On 20 March 2019, we visited the Musholm Centre in Korsør, Denmark. We were welcomed by Camilla Boel Nielsen who is the centre’s Sales & Marketing Consultant.
We journeyed there as a result of meeting and listening to Anders Tyrrestrup of AART architects who were responsible for the design. He showed us a building that was responsive to human needs and, in particular, to those of us who could be considered as more vulnerable. He showed a soft building, delivering to operators, who were less concerned with elite performance of the few than the joy and pleasure of the many.
The afternoon we spent, in the company of Camilla, looking at every aspect of the design was not only informative and delightful; it challenged us. She challenges all architects to consider one thing:
“Architecture and design is a matter of freedom. If you build something that is not completely accessible it takes away our freedom. The only time that I see my disability is when you take away my freedom. If I cannot get into somewhere, I know I am different.”
When we look further, into the building and operation, what she means become obvious. Here people, able bodied or with reduced ability, are all the same. They are encouraged to participate, be active and enjoy life. No one is seen as incapable. The building turns standard “normal thinking” on its head and enables all people.
For too long sports and leisure design in the UK has been driven by hollow directives and directions that have been pushed forward by the vociferous minority who may pay lip service to “accessibility” as long as it does not compromise their sport.
Perhaps the quiet majority are now finding a voice.
This building is one of a number that shows a more progressive and perhaps more commercially viable way forward. What is clear is that the architects, clients and operators may need now to think beyond the narrow box that has driven narrow thinking.
Elizabeth Adams & Camilla Boel Nielsen
As Camilla stated in parting:
“The only time that I feel disabled is when your building stops me doing something that I am perfectly capable of doing.”
Camilla is not only the centres Marketing Manager, she has muscular dystrophy and has been a visitor and user of the centre for many years. She explained the wide levels of use and activity enjoyed by all, commenting that International wheelchair rugby is played there, power hockey is played there, conferences and events are held there, zip wires are run internally, and local kids come after school to play.
We were humbled by her, her building and the joy that pervades this environmental. Everyone and everything matters.