Be it crèche, kindergarten, or preschool, designing childcare facilities for children raises lots of, and often conflicting, challenges for architects. The spaces must meet the needs of both little and big persons alike, there are a large number of legal standards that have to be complied with, and they must create structures that equally fulfil both pedagogical and aesthetic expectations. On top of this, opinions on what a child-oriented space should actually look like often depend on the specific pedagogical concept and can differ quite considerably.
Almost no other building assignment faces such a range of demanding requirements. In the manual Childcare Facilities editor Natascha Meuser has assembled a number of experts who provide an in-depth analysis of this building typology from a critical and specialist point of view and to an extent previously not seen before. The most important standards, for example, are listed in the form of a building catalogue, and the contributors formulate 10 design parameters as a practical guide for the targeted implementation of creative ideas and technical requirements. They designate and question factors necessary for the successful running of a childcare facility and show the connections between the design of a space, freedom of movement and the children's cognitive development.
A total of 60 contemporary childcare facilities from across the world are presented in detail, with large photos, plans and drawings. These buildings, which are located in urban, rural and pre-existing contexts, provide insights into this complicated design task. A brief catalogue with relevant requirements, regulations and guidelines that are necessary for the planning and building of childcare facilities completes this manual on high-quality construction.
The manual was developed in cooperation with Froebel, an experienced operator of childcare facilities, and the Anhalt University of Applied Sciences within the framework of a research project. Its aim is to sensitise the planning architects, as well as the pedagogues on aspects of architectural issues of this so-far widely ignored building typology, and to contribute to raise public awareness of this topic. In Germany, for example, there is a legal right to being able to avail of a place in a crèche or kindergarten, but a deficit in actually available places. This type of building assignment will therefore for the foreseeable future not only be of concern to architects.