Social Media

Will Alsop's colourful Fawood Children's Centre using old shipping containers

Located in north-west London and designed in 2004 by Alsop Architects - the Fawood Children's Centre has been said to be a groundbreaking design venture for the education of young children - reflecting current thinking on how the environment can affect learning; and is based on the concept that providing integrated services for children and families that are locally based and easily accessible will result in long term benefits for all (OECD).

The centre houses an early childhood centre, offices and training facilities - offering family support and outreach to parents including child and family health services, and access to training and career opportunities.

The imaginative use of open spaces, with natural light and transparency and colourful "playboxes" creates a comfortable environment for dreaming and learning.

Fundamental to the design was also to provide an environment that offers choice to the children - offering space to socialise or to be alone - enabling independent learning.

The centre was built using recycled sea containers - resembling giant building  blocks, linked by wooden decking and warmed by under floor heating.

"This combination of built and adapted internal environments has permitted a rapid construction programme," says Alsop. "It allows flexibility, and for low-cost change in any future internal layout of the building" (The Guardian).

The use of mesh walls or "giant metal circus tent" (The Guardian) which covers and protects the open air play areas creates a colourful social space for development and a decorative focal point for the community. "The children are out in the fresh air without actually being inside" (OECD).

The design stands out from the 'normal' or traditional type of early childhood centre - as Alsop says - "They suffer from what I call pumped-up bungalow syndrome, carefully designed to stifle the childhood imagination" (The Guardian).

Jonathon Glancey from The Guardian describes the centre as 'a ray of light' in run-down Harlesden. A place where "children can eat picnic lunches in a "piazza", chase one another through a "willow tunnel", climb into a tree house, act on an outdoor stage, splash about in a water garden or swing from a climbing frame" - no matter what the weather.

Via OECD, The Guardian and World Architecture News.


Post a Comment


site by Ana Degenaar