Kindergarten Valdespartera, Zaragoza, Spain
Exemplary design categories: energy efficiency, multi-sensory environment, outdoor spaces, school/community regenerationHow the facility meets the needs of education and communities:
The physical constraints of the site and its particular situation, between the rigorous and repeated volumes of the residential area and transport infrastructures around the city, suggest approaching the project from the capacity of architecture to transform a harsh area into a liveable place, even for children, through simple and timeless mechanisms of implementation: building a horizontal platform, and defining an enclosed area by setting its limits. In pedagogical terms, the idea of building a meeting place, capturing a part of the environment to generate a space adapted to the children´s abilities, comes from the model of a central piazza for activities around which infant spaces are articulated, developed in the schools of Reggio Emilia in Italy. These principles about a school around a plaza refer to the notion of a central space, continuous and fluid, without corners, with a curved outline and a free form, which is related to the playful nature of children’s learning. This configuration also provides a friendly and cheerful experience of architecture for the children of the district, in a clear contrast to the strict cartesian order of the linear blocks of the housing area. The configuration of the playground as an open space defined by an oval and concave perimeter, responds both to the idea that the project starts setting a center around which school is organized, and the creation of a courtyard: an independent environment, safe and protected from the outside. From the outside, the perimeter of the curved facade is configured by setting colored aluminum tubes in a continuous and seemingly random arrangement, inspired by a set of colored pencils. In contrast to the exterior color display, linked to the character of the building, the interiors offer a more neutral atmosphere, with a small number of materials and abundant natural lighting.
Involvement of users and the local community in the planning and design process:
The kindergarten was developed by the Government of Aragon, analyzing the needs of the community. The project was designed in deep coordination with the architects that work for it.
Activity Areas: Classrooms, Dining-Hall, Multipurpose-Hall, Offices, Facilities, Toilets
Project costs: EUR 2,500,000.00