CHESTNUT KINDERGARTEN

Project Details

The 0-6 kindergarten hub represents an ambitious project, which will be realized in the years 2024-25 and will be a symbolic architecture of the Municipality of Montese for decades to come, as well as a sign that even a small mountain village on a ridge of the Apennines can offer excellent facilities and services to its community. The complex is structured to accommodate 114 pupils in the 0-6 age of growth, including 24 infants hosted in the two sections of the Kindergarten and 90 children hosted in the three sections of the Nursery School. read more

The design concept begins to take shape precisely from the morphology of the lot, planimetrically defined on the northeast and northwest sides by the road axis that descends from the town center and envelops the vast sub-flat area where the school building will rise. The geometrical plan of the building thus seeks to follow the development of the road, but without creating a continuous front parallel to it. On the contrary, the architecture of the building seeks its own formal autonomy within the site, presenting from the outside a compact front that conceals inside a protected space for play and outdoor activities for the young guests. The proposed formal choice is that of a segmented element, which tends to “embrace” a central area stretching out toward the lush valley landscape. Thus, the building takes shape from a precise cross-section that develops constantly along a four-segment axis with open corners. The building stretches on the ground floor, ideal for a kindergarten, covered with a similar-aggravated metal sheet on a single pitch with constant inclination. Access to both school buildings is through a sienna-colored draining concrete pavement. The entrance filter has a setback from the façade to provide protection from the weather and is internally clad with wood on to give a “warm environment” feeling when entering. Wide corridors ensure the interior distribution while converging into a central space for physical activities, overlooking the inner courtyard through a large sliding glass opening. The Nursery School develops along the west wing of the building. The three section’s entrances are placed at the extremes of the distribution space. The type-section core is divided into three main spaces: desk activities, dormitory and toilets. The refectory area is located along the central space, with sufficient capacity to allow the maximum occupancy of the kindergarten to have lunch in two shifts. There is a special activity room that can be used as a color atelier and storage rooms to hold teaching materials. The Kindergarten occupies the remaining part of the building, in the east-facing wing. The internal distribution stretches around a central space used for psychomotor activities, play and meetings with relatives. From this space are placed all the accesses to the two sections of pupils, the areas of care services, toilets and the meal terminal. This configuration, makes it possible to eliminate the use of corridors as distributive elements, increasing the possibility for educators to have the totality of the environments under control. The type-section core consists of three separate environments: a free activity and refectory area where pupils play under the control of educators and consume meals throughout the day, a flexible resting space, and a toilet room with access from both environments. Interior materials feature natural finishes such as wooden beams, sound-absorbing celenit ceilings, ash wood doors, and wood-aluminum fixtures. Wood-effect porcelain stoneware will cover the main areas, and colored square tiles will cover the bathrooms. They will have a different pastel color depending on the section, and thus on the child’s year of growth, to develop a sense of cognition and recognizability of the classrooms. The landscape design of the outdoor spaces includes a system of paths connecting the various points of access and exit from the building. The planimetric design of these elements, sinuous and fluid, contrasts with the angular shape of the building, generating a “game of contrasts” between the building and its surroundings. The design aims to create an intriguing space that can stimulate the child’s “desire for discovery” and offer him a safe environment suitable for outdoor play and activities. The courtyard is thus the core, around which all the main educational activities of the preschool hub converge. It is enclosed on three sides by the building, while opening to the south, where the gaze moves beyond the fence composed of the repetition of vertical wooden slats. The planimetric design of this space is structured into two main material elements, one permeable with lawn and shrubs with low maintenance requirements and one semi-permeable with draining concrete surface. The curvilinear course of the paths intends to create an organic green courtyard, subdivided by a naturalistic engineering partition into two areas: one for the play of the children of the Kindergarten and one for the play of the children of the Nursery. The courtyard is accessible either from the outside, through the driveway gate that allows the entry of maintenance and rescue vehicles, or from the inside, directly from the classrooms, using those small volumes called “exit filters,” or from the main foyers of the two schools through a large sliding glass window. The central part of the courtyard will be seeded in grass, with small shrubs of low height, so that intervisibility between different growth stages will always be possible. The trees, planted for protection from the sun on summer days, will instead be placed to the south, abutting with the fence bordering the lot, where four Castanea Sativa trees will form a small “educational forest” for the children of the complex and introduce them to a local tradition related to the harvesting of these fruits in the fall. Thus, the image of the courtyard from the inside is that of an “enclave” enclosed on all sides by a succession of larch laths, varying in height between the building and the fence, and which can convey to the internal user a feeling of a natural, warm and welcoming environment. The project aims to create a stimulating landscape for children’s growth, who can develop their autonomy and curiosity in discovering both indoor and outdoor spaces. Hence, the architectural shape aimed at generating a body that “embraces” a central protected space, allowing continuous views of all stages of the child’s growth. read less

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client

Municipality of Montese

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project year

2022 – ongoing

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status

under construction

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program

kindergarten

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size

M

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collaborators

Slim Studio (rendering)