The CityLife project regenerated Milan’s old trade fair district and, at the heart of this site, lies a very special kindergarten created entirely with wood by LignoAlp, which teamed up with ITI Impresa Generale to produce the tender-winning design. The BabyLife project by 02 Arch revolves around a series of structures that look onto the internal courtyard and external garden in a visual and functional fusion of open and closed spaces that produces a single environment in continuous harmony with nature. The goal was to create a safe and secure sensorial experience for the children who attend the nursery school, stimulating them to develop their cognitive and perceptive skills. Each environment was carefully designed placing the child at the center and each space in relation to all the others. At the heart lies the delightfully named
Butterfly Patio, which is effectively an open-air laboratory of sensory and tactile experiences. For the load-bearing structure, LignoAlp used multi-layer x-lam panels as these meet the desired static load, without reducing the compositional solutions. For the horizontal structures, a joist and panel structure was selected. The decision to use wood was rooted in understanding the building’s future use in an ecological, sustainable paradigm to create a child-centric, cutting-edge facility. Such a philosophy meant the technical characteristics, comfort and performance of wood were a perfect match. Visually, wood is well-known for its sense of warmth, but it also has a naturally pleasing aroma and it is hygienic, anti-static and sound absorbent. Its anti-seismic performance is excellent and, in a fire, it maintains its mechanical properties unaltered up to 110/115 °C. Its thermal insulation is far better than for solid bricks or concrete blocks, making walls significantly thinner without loss of performance. Finally, on the maintenance front, wooden buildings suffer less damage and deterioration over time than a traditional concrete structure. LignoAlp’s experience and expertise make it an excellent partner for designers, turning wood’s structural properties into precise building solutions that meet the project brief. By engineering the desired forms, on-site assembly time is optimized without compromising on precision. The choice of materials and installations has made BabyLife the first completely wooden kindergarten in Milan with LEED Platinum certification, a clear sign of the energy excellence and sustainability that help make it a true gem for CityLife and the whole city.