St. Sebastian – A church becomes a kindergarten
The elegant form of the elliptical nave physically anchors its surrounding neighbourhood. Now deconsecrated the logical investment driven choice would have been for St. Sebastian to disappear. Bravely the 2009 competition jury awarded the first prize to the BOLLES+WILSON scheme which envisaged the characteristic form given a new life and function – a kindergarten framed and shielded by site perimeter housing (2nd construction phase).
The lower levels of the church now host a kindergarten with three group rooms on the ground floor and two groups on the first floor. The roofs of these become all-weather play decks – inside the church walls but climatically an outside space. The existing facade is perforated by a grid of 50 x 50 cm openings, which – now open – provide a constant and healthy ventilation through this inside/outside “playroom“. Cold in winter, comfortably temperate in summer, but always dry, now the kids can play outside all-the-year round. The original roof needed replacement, now industrial skylights flood the entire play deck with natural light. In the twilight street lights illuminate this magical playground and give the impression of a public space.
The walls of this playroom carry 140 m2 of acoustic panels – 30 x 60 cm ‘sauerkraut’ pixels outlining an elephant, a snake and a giant crocodile.
Grass green impact-protection flooring – usually used for sports fields – extend the interior green-on-green concept to the outside play deck. Embedded in the floor giant hand- and footprints suggest a play with scales.
A new tapering extension with multipurpose room mediates between reprogrammed church and street – it houses kitchen, offices, technical rooms and one big multipurpose room. Here a glazed entrance zone – with facing mothers waiting bench – leads to both kindergarten and these adjacent spaces, which can also be used externally – for neighbourhood events.
External play spaces include a bobby-car circuit and a play house which doubles as second escape route from the inner play decks.
Competition: 2009, First Prize
Planning: October 2010 – August 2012
Realisation: September 2011 - Januar 2013
Gross floor area: 1.120 m2 (kindergarten / existing + new)
Volume: 4.400 m3 (kindergarten / existing + new)
Costs: 3 Mio €