Best Practices in Educational Facilities Investments

Lehtoniemen päiväkoti, Kuopio, Finland

Exemplary design categories: community use and involvement, multi-sensory environment, outdoor spaces

How the facility meets the needs of education and communities:
Although essentially a single-storey structure, the building has been given a dynamic profile by making use of the contours and topography of the site. The spaces that require extra height are on the street side of the building and the lower spaces face the courtyard. This gives a distinctive flow and angularity to the building. Interiors have been designed to provide a playful, arbitrary and organic structure for children. The inner roof follows the contour of the outer roof, which creates some spectacular spaces in parts of the building. The main material for the load-bearing walls is unsmoothed concrete (which is painted white) resulting in a rich and vibrant feel. There are few parallel walls, which reduces the formation of echo and dampens noise. The interior of the school is structured to accommodate six groups of children. Spaces for the different age cohorts are kept separate. Much attention has been paid to detail. There is a water play room, where young children can have their first swim. The gymnasium, which doubles as the school hall, can be split using folding partitions into five spaces in order to cater for different groups. Bunk beds fold neatly away into wall cabinets when children are not resting. Two rooms can be used by the local parish after school hours. The gym can also be used by residents for meetings and events.

Activity Areas: gymnasium, administration, Parish premises, kitchen, area for age group 0–2, 3–4 and 5–6

Project costs: EUR 5,000,000.00

Source: "Designing for Education: Compendium of Exemplary Educational Facilities 2011"

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User perspectives (1)

"The starting point for the design was [to emphasise our] closeness to nature. The ceilings are high, which is wonderful. There is a sense of there being enough air to breathe. The gymnasium is a source of pride when showing the building to visitors, as it is clearly larger than those usually found in daycare centres."
Tiina Kerman, head teacher, Lehtoniemen päiväkoti

Images (16)

Drawings (3)

cross section (Registration required)
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Credit: Linja Architects
floor plan (Registration required)
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Credit: Linja Architects
site plan (Registration required)
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Credit: Linja Architects