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Here is a book that provides a wonderful array of inspiring new early learning architecture from Europe and Japan

Kindergartens: Educational Spaces by Michelle Galindo showcases 60 contemporary architecturally designed early learning centres from around the world - celebrating fun, learning and creativity.

The book whilst does not delve deeply into the architectural decisions and repercussions offers a selection of beautiful images - providing inspiration and the variety of approaches according to the site and pedagogical context.

Here is a selection of just some of the book's examples (the book arranges the centres by their size, yet I am going to arrange them by their locality):


Kindergarten in Murcia
Cercadelcielo - Studio Architecture

Location: Murcia, Spain
Year completed: 2007
Size: 160 m sq., 24 children

Arreletes Day Care Centre
XV Studio

Location: Lleida, Spain
Year completed: 2008
Size: 254 m sq., 16 children

Corita Kindergarten
Galvez + Wieczorek

Location: Voldemoro (Madrid), Spain
Year completed: 2005
Size: 1,397 m sq., 8 children per group

This design was inspired by watching children and the time they spent on the ground - lying, well as the time they spent looking up. Therefore, the architects deduced the importance of both planes - using different colours to differentiate the different spaces, and shafts of coloured light in the roof giving different moving light experiences throughout the day.

Las Vinas Infant Educational Centre
Solinas Verd Arquitectos

Location: Granada, Spain
Year completed: 2009
Size: 1,675 m sq., 20 children

This project takes the idea of permeability between the exterior and interior. Configured as two crossing axes, one with public activities and administration and the other, the teaching activities and 'home' rooms. All spaces receive natural light and ventilation.

Kindergarten in Rosales
Magen Arquitectos

Location: Saragosa, Spain
Year completed: 2009
Size: 1,720 m sq., 25 children

Located in an area of residential growth the kindergarten is the first phase of an education facility - kindergarten, dining hall/gymnasium and primary - are arranged in a u-shape. The design is based on children's perceptions - taking into consideration children's scale as well as the idea of different spatial experiences - through the use of space, light, materiality and colour.

Kinderland Westside

Location: Bern, Switzerland
Year completed: 2008
Size: 350 m sq., 100 children

Situated within a shopping mall - this centre is based on the theme of "animals in the savanna" - like monkeys, the children have to interact with the centre's landscape where they can cross a ball pool, climb a climbing wall, cross a crocodile pit by a rope bridge to a climbing net and finally get to the safe gallery...and a children's theatre, puppet shop, doll's house and reading area set among a 'nest in the treetops'.

Company Nursery
Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Partners

Location: Verona, Italy
Year completed: 2005
Size: 690 m sq.

The nursery is part of the GlaxoSmithKline company campus - offering day care for the 1500 workers' children. The centre was to create a domestic space amidst a semi-urban area characterised by industrial buildings and warehouses. The building is arranged around a elongated courtyard, creating a protected playground space. The various components were produced in the factory, preassembled and mounted on site. The project is similar to that of the early modernists' functional kindergarten and school designs.

Day Care Centre for Benetton
Alberto Campo Baeza

Location: Treviso, Italy
Year completed: 2008
Size: 1,868 m sq., 100 children

This building is arranged as a square within a larger, circular enclosure made up of double circular walls. Open to the sky, four courtyards are created suggesting the four elements: air, earth, fire and water. The space between the perimeter walls serves as a "secret" place for the children.

Kindergarten Barbapapà

Location: Vignoloa (Modena), Italy
Year completed: 2009
Size: 1,158 m sq., 60 children

The design of this centre was driven by again the contextual surroundings - it was to fit snug within the site and provide comfortable and protected spaces for the children - with a constant connection to the outdoors.

Kindergarten Dandelion Clock
Ecker Architekten

Location: Buchen (Odenwald), Germany
Year completed: 2007
Size: 630 m sq., 6-8 children (5 groups)

Educating children with physical or developmental handicaps, the kindergarten uses four simple modules of territories defined by colours, radiating out from a shared atrium. Repetitive framing allowed for factory production of large modular panels.

Kindergarten Bizau
Bernado Bader

Location: Bizau, Austria
Year completed: 2009
Size: 720 m sq., 20 children (2 groups)

'A house for children' - this modest centre integrates itself with the region's context and provides a relaxing space for the children with the interior made entirely from natural wood - pine and ash. The furniture was also made by local carpenters.

Kindergarten Neumarkt
Schneider & Lengauer

Location: Neumarkt im M├╝hlkreis, Austria
Year completed: 2006
Size: 1,065 m sq., 90 children (4 groups)

Daycare Centre Skanderborggade
Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter

Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Year completed: 2005
Size: 1,045 m sq., 12 children (3 groups)

The design for this centre works to create a connection with the surrounding context - building character and environmental. The building's orientation utilises the best possible sun exposure and penetration, whilst the roof space extends the opportunity for outdoor play.

Ajurinmaki Daycare Centre
AFKS Architects

Location: Espoo, Finland
Year completed: 2009
Size: 1,065 m sq., 22 children (3 groups)

With three 'home areas' the building is shaped like a an organic, living entity poised in a sheltered embrace - with windows placed haphazardly - yet with the light tunnels allows light to fill the interior spaces.

Location: Krk Island, Croatia
Year completed: 2009
Size: 1,725 m sq., 72 children (4 groups)

Children's Nursery and Pre-school Hamm
Witry & Witry Architecture Urbanisme

Location: Luxembourg
Year completed: 2008
Size: 2,014 m sq.

This new early learning centre was built using low-energy principles - wood construction, insulated components, south orientation, a controlled heat and ventilation system and photovoltaic panels - where the current supply of energy is displayed to the children on an information board - making the children aware of the issue of renewable energy.


Location: Shiga Prefecture, Japan
Year completed: 2003
Size: 1,243 m sq.

Location: Tokyo, Japan
Year completed: 2008
Size: 1,351 m sq., 30 children (9 groups)


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