New construction of a kindergarten — Aryavrat IV Road, S. G.-Highway, Makarba, Ahmedabad – 380058, India — 4,435 m² — 12.2019
Thought out concept for playful learning
Developing creativity, independence and closeness to nature in a city of eight million: With Toy Blocks, the architects and interior designers of blocher partners have created a kindergarten for some 100 children, age 0 to six years, based on the alternative educational concept "Reggio Emilia". The environment itself – both architecture and nature – represents a third educator alongside parents and teachers.
The planners faced challenges on two fronts, as they prepared to apply an educational concept born in day-care centres in the northern Italian city of Reggio nell‘Emilia to an Indian school. Not only did they have to respond to a different climate; they also had to keep in mind that in India, education is much more a family matter. The architects thus had to design a space with as much shade as possible, and they had to find an architectural language that would be both modest and memorable.
The resulting design follows the tradition of pavilion schools. Every classroom has its own building; children can choose a different location each day. Nine cube-shaped buildings are set around a central inner courtyard; their arrangement creates several small side courtyards. This keeps the environment at a scale suitable for children. Broad overhangs make for shady and well-ventilated outdoor areas. The interior courtyards and part of the rooftops are lushly planted with greenery; pathways flow into entryways. Lighting towers in the group rooms on the top floor floor bring daylight and fresh air into the space, and offer unexpected views of the greened rooftop.
The ground floor houses a workshop and studio space; a science lab where children learn about plants, for example; and an activity center for sports and dance classes. While the interior features natural materials such as stone, clay plaster and wood, the outside walls are made of insulating aerated concrete blocks. Greenery on the walkways protects the façade, providing an additional cooling effect.