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New kindergarten design in the Italian mountain village Terenten mediates between the old and new

Kindergarten Terenten by Feld72 in Italy, (Photos taken by  Hertha Hurnaus)

Kindergarten Terenten, located in a village in the Val Pusteria in South Tyrol, Italy and designed by Feld72  merges beautifully with the surrounding mountainess landscape and village. Utilising traditional architectural elements, yet translating them into a sleek contemporary form.

A clearly marked entrance to the centre accessed from the street marks the point of arrival.

The sloping terrain allows for a ground floor not seen from the road. The centre is divided into three "houses", whose fronts have been shifted slightly out of alignment and of varying heights, each connected with glazing allowing for copious amounts of light to flood the interior spaces.

Integrating itself into the surrounding environment and urban context it is also located in an area with public educational and sport facilities and will combine with the muncipal offices, sports hall and neighbouring primary school.

Responding to the sloping terrain, the kindergarten becomes a hybrid creation, a cross between built structure and landscape.

Indoor and outdoor spaces flow into each other...

...and the roof a garden space accessible from the upper floor.

An adjacent playground and park and nearby meadow and forest areas provide an extraordinarily rich variety of open spaces for the children.With each classroom containing sliding doors and a wood decked patio, connecting to the outdoors.

The sunlit glazed corridor between the units or "houses" acts as the cloak bay area, I love how the architecture accommodates this function with the storage bays inset into the walls.

This "atrium" or corridor space with its multiple openings and points of connection becomes a lively space of 'community' interaction.

The choice of materials used takes on the theme of the 'everyday' and the use of 'old' or traditional materials and new or 'modern' materials. The outer building walls double layered and made of exposed concrete, whilst the roof is made of hand-cut larch shingles and wood has been used exclusively for the gallery level. The use of different materials delineate the different zones.

The architects aimed to create a range of spatial structures to stimulate children's independent activities, orientation, communication, social interaction and aesthetic receptiveness. Rooms that can be flexible - used as stages for children's activities, but also as quiet retreats.

 Connecting bridges, galleries and air space offer a variety of spatial experiences and lines of sight.

 Larch-panelled galleries sit like birds' nests on the exposed concrete structures, and look like neat tree huts or play houses.

All is designed with the thought of the child in mind - the windows become ledges to sit on, as do the stairs - the left over space becoming storage, which seamlessly merge with the architecture.

The use of curtains is a good device for allowing flexibility - changing the physical organisation of space.

Play is introduced through the architecture, with the wall becoming a climbing structure and a fold-out slide.

This is certainly an architetucre that takes children seriously, with great thought taken into the scale of the child. As seen here the basin, mirror and window is all at the scale of the child, the child seen as independent and capable.

And MORE PLAY elements embedded into the architecture. Walls that incorporate building blocks...I wish I went to this kindergarten.


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