The project was gained through a competition won in 2010. The task was to design a kindergarten for eight groups of children with a multipurpose hall, a dining hall and a staff room. The polygonal shape of the area and the idea of putting the various rooms in separate buildings and creating a kind of village for kids led to the star-shaped design.
Each unit – crèche, kindergarten, day-care centre, utility and staff – is given its own building. They are connected by means of a central all-purpose hall, which we called the "Piazza" and which is the heart of the child-care facility.
What results is a subdivided pavilion in the midst of a treed park. Stations for play and educational purposes are distributed around the remaining garden.
Alongside the functional idea there is also a pedagogical concept. The method, which is known as the Reggio method (named after the Italian city of Reggio), provides for the educational fostering and stimulation of the children in line with their personal strengths, and this is to be achieved not only through the parents and caregivers, but also through the structure itself.
It provides for as many different spatial situations as possible, views into, out of and through the facility. The "Piazza" encourages and supports all kinds of activities and games.
In order to mingle with the location and its trees, wood was chosen as the main. The buildings will change over the years, so does the surrounding.
Nature motifs also played an important role in the interior design: the Piazza is conceived as a forest clearing, its bearing elements are covered with tree trunks.
We used the wood panelling as construction method, wall and ceiling elements were pre-fabricated, partially already panelled on one side for reinforcement, and delivered to the construction site, where they were installed, insulated and boarded.
The walls are panelled on the outside with pre-patinated larch and on the inside with varnished spruce, window frames are also made of wood.
The building was constructed without thermal bridges, in passive-house standard. The annual heating requirement is below 15 kWh/m2a. In winter, large window fronts in the group rooms exploit the heating effect of strong direct sunlight.
All of the group rooms, the day-care centre and the staff and utility buildings are equipped with decentralised ventilation devices with waste-heat recovery.