Not just another brick in the wall...

Sunday 30 Oct 2011

Interactive kindergarten façade extends realm of learning to the playground

When the existing kindergarten in one of Ljubljana's densely built areas became too small for all the neighbourhood children, the local authorities decided to expand it by adding two new playrooms and the accompanying service areas.

In addition to providing a cosy, quality and safe environment for more children, Kekec has solved the problem of the existing kindergarten's lack of play equipment. It has achieved this with its main design feature – the innovative façade – which offers a play element along all three exterior walls and invites children to experience it.

The revolving vertical toy slats are the colour of natural wood on one side but painted into nine different bright colours on the other, giving the building either a discreet or a playful appearance: depending on what the children decide. As the children manipulate the colourful timber, they get to know different colours, experience wood as a natural material and change the appearance of their kindergarten, all at the same time.

Children rarely get the opportunity to connect with their kindergarten in such a way: to play with it, learn from it and change the way it looks, as is the case with Kekec. What is more, the colourful revolving slats also function as a shading element for the windows behind them.

Being one of the first Slovene kindergartens made from prefabricated timber of local origin – and this in a country where over half of the territory is forested – Kekec represents an important step towards sustainable construction. Not least because it shows that quality architecture can rely on natural materials and that these are available within the same budget as concrete or brick, which are traditionally used for kindergarten constructions in Slovenia.

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