Polo dell'infanzia 0-6 a Montese

The new nursery school complex will be built for the community of Montese, a small village on the crest of the Apennines of Modena, and will accommodate children in the age range from 0 to 6 years. The lot is located at the foot of the village, in a green area just outside the town center and therefore far from road traffic and town noise. The intention is to create a nursery school pole capable of providing a service of excellence in the area, which can both increase the possibilities of those who already live in the village and encourage new families to take up residence in these mountainous areas. The opportunity to realize all this comes with the funding promoted by the PNRR fund named “Futura – la scuola per l’Italia di domani” (Future – the School for tomorrow’s Italy).

The lot is located along Via Campo di Sole, the road that descends from the center of the village and encloses the flat area where the new school complex will be built. This choice sought to reconcile the need to be located in a place far from city traffic but at the same time easily accessible, surrounded by greenery and close to natural and wooded landscapes.

The design concept begins to take shape precisely from the morphology of the lot, planimetrically defined by a road axis that descends from the mountain and curves near the north-west vertex, which encloses a vast flat area. The site of the school complex therefore seeks to follow the development of the road, without creating a continuous front parallel to it, as usually happens in urban environments. Rather, the building seeks its own morphological freedom within the intervention area, creating relationships but without being conditioned by the pre-existing road. The form is therefore intended to present a compact front, which encloses the sheltered part of the land, suitable for creating a protected play area for the children of the nursery and kindergarten. Another relevant aspect, considered when conceptualizing the idea, are the views opening onto the natural landscape of the valley. They provide a pedagogical cue of immense value, and if emphasized can create a harmonious interior environment open to nature.

Overall, the school will be able to accommodate 24 children aged 0-3 years and 90 children aged 3-6 years, for a total of 114 pupils. The project therefore aims to create a stimulating landscape for the growth of the child, who can develop his or her autonomy and curiosity in discovering both indoor and outdoor spaces, establishing a direct relationship between them. Hence the formal architectural and distributive choices, aimed at generating a body that “embraces” a central protected area, and which allows a continuous view of all phases of the child’s growth.

The school complex, as a result of its planimetric morphology, encloses on four sides an inner courtyard that can be used by the school for psychomotor activities and outdoor play. The planimetric design of this space is divided into two main material differences, one permeable with lawn and shrubs with low maintenance requirements and one semi-permeable with draining concrete paving for the connecting paths. The curvilinear course of the pathways contrasts with the broken line dictated by the building fronts and is intended to create an organic green area that encourages users to make use of its entire surface area.

Thus, of the possibilities analyzed, the one that seems to provide the most potential for development appears to be a segmented building, which tends to “embrace” a central semi-open area towards the lush valley landscape. The building body is therefore designed from a minimum cross-section, which allows for the presence of distribution and section, and develops constantly along a four-segment axis with all obtuse angles. The continuity in the learning path is thus reflected in the central green courtyard, a place overlooked by all the sections of the complex. The subdivision is therefore clear and defined, by means of a continuous wall transversal to the building, located approximately 2/3 of its development. The nursery school will occupy the upstream portion, for a surface area of approximately 2/3 of the total. The nursery school, on the other hand, will occupy the remaining 1/3 of the total surface area, and will be located in the terminal portion towards the valley. The two components will be characterized by separate entrances, favoring their autonomous use. The internal distribution aims to minimize the use of classic distribution corridors in favour of larger spaces for the various activities. The nursery school is developed along the west wing of the building. The kindergarten is located in the south-east area of the building. The development of the interior spaces is generated around the needs of the section’s teaching nucleus, formed to allow management autonomy within the individual classes. The basic typology is articulated in three spaces that are functionally distinct but didactically interconnected with the intention of matching pedagogical needs with the prescriptions of ministerial regulations, adopting design choices of architectural and functional quality. The three spaces forming the educational core find expression in a classroom for desk activities, a classroom for special activities and toilets.

The entrance of both wings is set back from the edge of the façade to provide protection from the weather, while a glazed opening on the educators’ space is located in the compass to allow control of exits and access.

Montese, Modena, Italy

Municipality of Montese

2022 – ongoing

Design Development



Slim Studio (Rendering)