Adaptation of an Old School Building into a Kinderagarten – Society Pro Liberis Silesiae
In world nowadays, that is often overstimulated and overwhelmed with information and products, perhaps a building can help us to learn how to appreciate contact with nature, simplicity, and our own identity. To understand the nature of things and how they are constructed. To create a framework and atmosphere for building up our first relationships.
We aimed to create inspiring and stimulating kindergarten’s space, to foster kids growth and development. Building acts as a „vassel” for young human beings, where its form casts user’s behavior, sense of security and self-esteem. It offers incentives for joy and exploration. To be a window into their future, to understand the world and build their own identity.
Following program requirements, the main existing block has been extended and converted into kindergarten. New layout finds its room in the existing building, preserving its volume, and expanding into the garden through inserted modern-box, that offers classrooms a variety of spaces. Moreover it acts as an indoor yard, to strengthen Montesorii’s idea of being in regular contact with nature, where full height glass blurs the boundary between outside and inside.
Through the design process, it remained very important to us to distinguish old and new fabrics of the buildings. Since both parts have very different material characteristics, one can easily read their individualism from outside as well as from the inside. And front glass facade not only connects kids with the outdoors, but it allows visitors to view and perceive the pre-existing volume and texture.
Small extension from the 80's and separate outbuilding, which turned into a workshop receive unique characters as well, recognizing its original beauty.
While working on the project we focused on maintaining existing buildings layout with a yard in between. That is to expose different building’s proportions and historical changes with its specific details. We introduce new functions that connect all, while keeping them autonomous.
Quality of space with a variety of heights and characteristics within the complex as well as in one room offers users an opportunity to find the right atmosphere at the given moment. From a cozy corners for hiding, to more exclusive places, where kids can receive appropriate attention. Openings in the walls foster joy and interaction between pupils. Windows become a sitting, a passage, a portal or an entrance to the hidden world. They offer connection, and stimulate imagination, same as light-rays from the skylights, that resembles a game of light and shadow in a forest.
The existing structure of brick and stone was used as the base in the project. Raw concrete, wood, unplastered blocks and glass were added. Internal facades express the building's history and structure. Fragments of an old lintel, or brickwork are creating original pictures, but also telling a story while stimulating various senses. The building preserves the smell of natural material and presents its roughness, all the changes, and ongoing aging. Floors, walls and ceilings often retain their original, construction character. The imprints in the concrete show what kind of formwork was used, while exposed structural elements such a tie beam that bonds the building, showing the way the structure works.