Kindergarten Nová Ruda: Educational Space and Leisure Area

Petr Stolín Architekt

Architects: Petr Stolín Architekt
Location: Prague, Czech Republic
Area: 915 m2
Year: 2018
Photography: Alex shoots buildings

The new kindergarten, Nová Ruda, in Vratislavice nad Nisou responds to a need in this district of the city, tied in with its growing population, by providing educational spaces and a leisure area for children.

 

The plot is the property of the city and was chosen as most suitable for a new housing development, planned in the immediate vicinity, and the new kindergarten. The site itself is still undeveloped and the majority of the land has been set aside as public green space. In the immediate vicinity there is a historic building, a secondary art school, and several patches of family houses, which form a rather rural context overall.

 

The quality of the chosen plot was not entirely appropriate as it is a north-facing slope, shaded by the high school building, crossed by several infrastructure routes. Reinforced concrete communication elements, as well as an existing parking area, limited the space available for the kindergarten itself.

 

These restrictions, along with the Czech standards for the construction of preschool facilities, as well as new trends regarding the quality of the environments in which children are being educated, crystallized to influence the proposal that was submitted for the new kindergarten building.

 

We want children to learn and perceive architecture through various spatial configurations, which we have tried to implement throughout the composition.

The children can discover the whole building gradually, since they are able to orient themselves right away upon entering the house.

Throughout the day, the children can discover the building and all the possible ways to move through it. Their classroom is not an ordinary rectangular space. It is a space that is visually connected to the exterior by large parallel windows, and to different floors through atriums.

The children’s activities vary across the height of the building: in the lower part there is an area for resting, the quietest place; and the floor above houses the playroom. Here, too, the children have the opportunity to go outside onto the terrace and the side galleries which continue behind the façade of the house. Here, they can reach the main outdoor play terrace, located above the dining room. The whole building is now, in fact, one big jungle.

The top floor has the highest clear height and serves as a classroom. The skylights bring natural light into these areas and also to the dining room on the ground floor. The building is sized for two classes of 25 children each, an office for 4 educators, an office for the nursery manager and farmer, as well as a dining room for 30 children and 4 adults. The design of the functional area of the kindergarten is optimal: food preparation, staff cloakrooms, cleaning room, technical space and storage are all housed under the same roof.

Thanks to its outdoor terraces and courtyard, the facility allows for outdoors play in the sun. These areas are also equipped with outdoor storage for toys and utensils.

The space located in between the two main volumes of the kindergarten functions as a terrace and public space. This area is connected to the new parking lot and to the exterior wooden paving that is aligned with the axis of the building. The remaining terrain will be used as green space with various play elements required by the program.

The materials and surfaces are chosen in light tones and are combined with glass and natural wood on the terraces.

The kindergarten is designed as a brick building with a fiberglass façade installed on a wooden grid. The whole building is surrounded by a steel structure with two walking paths around the two main sections, which are hidden from the street by another layer of trapezoidal fiberglass.

This concept of transparency enhances the whole mass and creates a sense of security. The outer façade of the house is a soft veil that embraces all the inner world of the kindergarten. The house does not need a fence. The outer shell blends the two slim volumes of the two compartments, which are connected in the back by common and functional areas. Thus, this connection turns the inner atrium into a sheltered and pleasant space.”