Small round Kids’ World
Small round Kids’ Worldby Regina Enhuber | 17.04.2012
steelcase company-owned children day-care centerUnobtrusive, yet effective: steelcase company-owned children day-care center by Wulf Architekten is an amorphous structure between scenery and cultivated space.
There is no field in architecture where things can go that much wrong than with designing facilities for children. Unlike adults, children cannot yet separate the important from the unimportant environmental influences, they respond to their whole environment. A child’s environment does not only influence its playing behavior, but also has an impact on its social behavior. This is why environmental psychology plays a crucial role in architecture for children.
Not only social and health-related aspects of a building should be taken a close look at, but also the relation of interior and exterior as well as relaxation and activity rooms. An utterly overloaded room leaves too little space for a child to develop its own playing style, it also does not take the required possibilities for retreat and breaks for the children into account. Also the look and the way outside “into nature” should have top priority when building for kids.
The steelcase-Werndl AG Company-owned Children Day-Care Center
The small steelcase-Werndl AG children day-care center in Rosenheim is spread across a total floor area of 385 square meters. The single-story brick building, designed by Wulf Architekten, was completed in September 2009. Costs: 560,000 Euro. With its peculiar outer appearance, this children day-care center stands out from its rather pragmatic surroundings, although quite unobtrusive at first.
The basic construction consists of several crooked wall disks arranged in a staggered manner, used for creating different rooms and passages. The whole building consists of flowing shapes, creating a pleasant atmosphere of well-being. Each meter of this building has a purpose. The interplay of crooked wall disks, the glass fronts and the amorphous roof plate results in various rooms for group play, recreational zones, free play and sports activities. The various hulls provide partitioning, protection and a feeling of security, but also passage rooms suitable for children, these passages can be crossed with Bobby cars, for instance.
The roof construction provides shadows and thus is longer than the building’s outer edge at several points. Four overhead lights provide natural lighting. The whole roof area is green, based on the idea of sustainability.
Inside and Outside Appearance
Outside as well as inside wood is the predominant material. By applying a break in the hall’s inner wall the architects were able to create tension and thus work against a depressing atmosphere. Based on the ideas of energy efficiency and sustainability, local timber and materials from the region have been used. Re-cycled paper, for instance, takes care of the building’s insulation.
The outer façade with its massive flat roof and the wooden façade is kept plain and is held in two shades of color. Small deviances in color create the delicate white and black columns, serving as supports for the projecting roof. The façade is cut here and there to allow window openings of various sizes.
Inside, various color shades have been used in order to create a children-friendly atmosphere. Here, Wulf Architekten were looking for the perfect balance: not too much and not too little.
Classics of Architecture, translated in a modern and sustainable Way
The steelcase company-owned children day-care center is the translation of the architectural principle of Mies van der Rohe into an amorphous structure. Wall disks and openings shape a building without the need of clearly defined outer borders. This creates a great inside-outside relation, integrating the building into its surroundings, so it does not look like a solitaire standing on its own.
In addition, ecological construction principles have been applied here. Regional materials, local timber, re-cycled paper and a green roof. This way the building does not only fall below the usual maintenance costs, but also below the usual energy consumption and CO2 emissions.
Year of construction: 2009
steelcase - Werndl AG