The kindergarten is located close to the river Danube, surrounded by a ten-story block of flats from the socialist prefabricated housing program. While preserving the existing prefabricated two-story kindergarten building from the 1980s, this modernization and expansion have given the kindergarten a new and integral identity. The rooms were expanded towards the original courtyard, and a covered, wooden outdoor playground was added in the front. The building opens up under the new roof’s outline to compensate for the shut and rigid environment of the prefabricated panel blocks.
|1 962 m2
The building is located in a housing estate near the Danube in Hungary, north of Budapest. The kindergarten and other social institutions are lined up in the center of this housing estate, surrounded by ten-story houses and isolated from the surrounding car traffic. The whole area was built in the second half of the 1980s as part of the socialist panel program.
The kindergarten is like an island, which is not integrated into the urban fabric. The child is not educated as a city dweller.
The building is located on the boundary of the site, therefore, the main entrance to the kindergarten is directly from the street. The elements such as stoves for bicycles next to the main entrance encourage users to commute by bike.
The existing entrance leads directly to the group room. There is no opportunity for all kindergarten users to meet each other and get to know each other at least by sight.
By transforming the former entrance and corridor system, the building is now set around a new inner atrium. The main entrance leads to the common space, where various users of the kindergarten can meet. The direct connection to the patio creates more convenient gathering space with a natural light inside.
The existing commonly used spaces do not encourage relations among the users. These spaces discourage unintentional encounters, thus, users of the kindergarden are not visible to each other.
The narrow transition-changing rooms have been extended towards the group rooms. Due to spatial transformation, the view through the windows is focused on the inner patio, which allows children to be aware of the environment. The spacious common changing rooms serve as a place to meet children from other groups.
The existing common outdoor space is large and unmanageable. The space lacks security, so the child does not have the opportunity to go outside independently and going outdoors needs a lot of preparation.
After transformation a new transitory two-storey high covered outdoor patio for playing and resting with a direct connection to all the groups was added. Each group even on the second floor has a direct connection to the outdoor space, which enables children to act more independently. The outdoor bathroom is a newly integrated feature, which makes staying outside more comfortable.
Uniform and closed group spaces do not allow the child to choose which space they want to be in. The segregation and closeness of the spaces encourages a lack of relationships with other users.
The groups were extended towards the garden, which allows more activities in the group room. A direct connection to the outdoor space was created with large windows and glass doors to the garden. The newly installed windows have been positioned lower so that the children can look through them.
The building of the kindergarten is characterless, with finishings of unnatural materials and exaggerated colourful interiors. The kindergarten, as the first aesthetic cognitive space, does not develop a child’s understanding of natural materials and the space.
Timber is the main material used in both interior and exterior design. Light colours, partitions and transparent elements create visual and spatial integrity in the interior. Natural light and large windows help to create a connection with the surrounding environment. Comfortable and cosy spaces create a feeling of home rather than a playground.
Project text provided by the project authors
Pictures by Tamás Bujnovszky, Archikon