The kindergarten is located in a rural area near small town Poljčane, between the edge of the town and a protected natural area – “Natura 2000”. The object’s design reflects the connection to the nature on one side and the duality between the urban space and beautiful local nature with its rare plants and animals on the other.
The main architectural element of the building is its elongated folded wooden roof, which expresses the continuation of the nearby hills towards the flatland. The innovative construction of the roof enables long spans and overhangs, especially at its end, where the edge of the roof floats over the landscape and interacts with an impressive neighboring hill – Boč. The wooden cross laminated timber (CLT) construction of the roof is visible and forms a wooden ceiling of the interior. The pleasant atmosphere of the interior is significantly influenced by a row of innovative wooden V-shaped pillars, which form the object’s west facade. The alternating V-shaped pillars create a special and unique atmosphere, particularly in the elongated spaces, where a traditional corridor is replaced with a dynamic and mystical play of light and unexpected angles of views. At the same time the row of wooden jagged V-shaped-pillars creates extended surface of the wall, which transforms the corridors into a gallery to display children-made artefacts as pieces of art.
Conceptually the building consists of 4 elongated volumes covered with a floating roof. Two of the volumes contain services (kitchen, technical room, offices); the other two accommodate 8 playrooms. “Technical” volumes pierce the roof, reflecting the nearby urban structure, while the “playroom” volumes hide under the folded roof and form soft shapes, connecting the building with the nature. This duality in the architectural concept is the reflection of the local context.
Other spaces surrounding the volumes are organized as in-between spaces: “streets” and “squares” leading children to their playrooms or connecting the interior and exterior. The variety of interconnected spaces and blurred borders between programs and interior/exterior enables children constant contact with the extraordinary natural surroundings.
Such a design is connected to Reggio Emilio approach, which encourages children to learn through touching, moving, listening, and observing. Children should have rights and should be given opportunities to develop their potential. In Reggio Emilio approach the building/place acts as the 3rd teacher.
The kindergarten also has a special feature at the end of the building, near open green spaces:
The roof finishes with a 7m long overhang with a big hole in the middle. During the rain the water from the roof creates a waterfall that children can observe or play with. Apart from the entertainment role the element has an important educational function: children learn about the use and importance of natural water resources. In addition it enables them to spend more time outdoors: during rainy days children want to go out and play with the waterfall! Playground is organized as landscape of green grass, hills and few wooden elements to play. It is minimalistic in expression, but flexible and creative in use.
The kindergarten accommodates children that spend there over half of their lifetimes; because of that the kindergarten’s design exposes the awareness of their natural surrounding and the importance of its preservation. This is reflected even in the graphics design and colours, inspired by typical unique animals living in the nearby flood-area and flatland.
“MODULAR arhitekti” connects three architects from three different generations (Mojca Gregorski, Miha Kajzelj, Matic Lašič). Our work consists of realizations in different architecture scales - ranging from very small designs, houses, building complexes, landscape projects to more complex urbanistic designs. Most of our realized works are in the field of public projects (landscape projects, educational buildings, sport halls and complexes, homes for elderly, castle renovations and others) and contribute to the culture of the local communities. As a company we are interested in realizations of contemporary architecture in response to contextual parameters as well as their social influence. The results are based on constant search of new functional and spatial solutions. Our buildings are interweaving with the surrounding environment instead of dominating it.
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