Vilnius District Municipality together with DO ARCHITECTS shows an example of what a public kindergarten should be like – the renovated kindergarten “Pelėdžiukas” was opened in Pagiriiai and presented to the public. The needs of the children were the first consideration in its construction, and the design and construction process were modified to save the huge spruce tree in the kindergarten yard. In Pagiriai, the kindergarten “Pelėdžiukas”, which was surrounded by Soviet apartment blocks, has been extended by building modern architectural extensions. The new part of the kindergarten consists of 4 nursery and 2 kindergarten groups, attached to the existing kindergarten building. The old and new buildings are connected by common spaces and a covered courtyard. The main change after the renovation is the enclosed courtyard.
|Lithuania, Vilnius District, Pagiriai
|2 200 m2
The children go out on their own, and the daily games and kindergarten events take place there. The courtyard becomes the main entrance area where parents, children, teachers and the community meet. The courtyard is surrounded only by common spaces – from inside the children can always see what is going on outside, and from outside they can see what is going on in the canteen, the lounge and the event area. This is how natural socialisation, curiosity and a sense of community are developed. The design and construction of the kindergarten has also paid particular attention to the trees that grow there. At the very beginning of the project, the extension of the kindergarten was planned for a completely different location, but when a beautiful spruce tree arrived and was seen growing on the site, it was preserved, as were the other trees there.
The kindergarten is as an island, which is not integrated into the urban fabric, thus the child is not educated as a city dweller.
Entrance from the street
Plenty of various entrances to the building and the lack of common spaces that bring people together results in no opportunity for all kindergarten users to meet each other and get to know each other at least by sight.
The new main entrance, which leads to the inner patio, is created. The patio works as new space that brings various users together. Parents, staff and children can meet when entering the kindergarten. Children are more likely to let go of parents hand. The new unexpected relations are created and the comunity spirit is boosted.
The existing commonly used spaces discourage unintentional encounters, thus, users of the kindergarden are not visible to each other.
The variety and the flexibility of common spaces create a democratic experience in the kindergarten spaces.
The existing common outdoor space is too large and unmanageable so the child does not have the opportunity to go outside independently since there is lack of security.
The kindergarten thus has two types of outdoor space: a patio for independent access (unexpected outdoor use) and yard for planned outdoor use. Children are able to go outside independently, the preparation process for teachers becomes much easier.
The uniform and closed group spaces do not allow the child to choose which space they want to be in and the relationship with other spaces / users is not felt while staying in the segregated groups.
The flexibility of the spaces and the variety of functions creates a democratic experience of the kindergarden spaces
The building of kindergarten is characterless, with finishings of unnatural materials and exaggerated colourful interiors thus the kindergarten, as the first aesthetic cognitive space, does not develop a child’s understanding of natural materials and the space.
Children from an early age can develop their tactile experience through touch, smell and texture of natural materials. The natural light and big windows help to create a connection to the surrounding environment. The comfortable and cosy spaces create a feeling of home rather than a playground.
Project text provided by the project authors
Pictures by DO ARCHITECTS, Lukas Jusas