A whole new world

Monday 03 Oct 2011

Bright new kindergarten experiments with spatial methods of learning using colour

The kindergarten is a result of a competition held by the municipality of Tromsø to meet the demand of new childcare facilities. The competition brief challenged the traditional way of organising kindergartens, and had an opening for experimentation with spatial elements as part of a new pedagogical approach.

In the architects' interpretation, playing with space became an important element in developing an understanding of children's play and motion. The colouring of the playing structures is a subtle way of emphasising the spatial movement in the building, and also for an intuitive understanding of different spatial and functional use of different parts of the interior.

The kindergarten is organized in a number of longitudinal zones, from the exterior playground - through the roofed outdoor terraces providing a good micro climate (very important in the rough climate); the indoor 'street' with water-play areas with a winter garden feeling - through the core bases with turnable and flexible walls; and finally to the innermost reading nooks and mezzanines providing intimate space for quiet activities and rest. These zones make a soft transition from the exterior to the interior of the kindergarten - from the exposed wide landscape to the most intimate space.

The outer wardrobes, the kitchen and the playing rooms peek out of the entrance façade as shapes of different materials and colours, constituting contrasting elements which continue into the interior. The four bases each have an inner wardrobe which also can be used as a play area. The bases can be opened or closed off towards the indoor street and wardrobes. The turnable inner walls have integrated a lot of different playing facilities, from drawing tables and climbing walls, to furniture and puppet theatre.

The kindergarten is intended to guarantee a wide range of different spatial experiences. With very simple moves, one can change each room into a new space, with various ambiances, sizes and functions. There are several options for combinations and joint actions of rooms and spaces to ensure for the children an active and challenging environment.

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