Architects: Arhitektura Jure Kotnik
Location: Ljubljana, Slovenia
Project team: Jure Kotnik, Andrej Kotnik
Client: Mestna občina Ljubljana
Structural engineering: CBD d.o.o.
Mechanical engineering: Linasi Peter
Electrical engineering: Iztok Zlatar
Builder: Riko Hiše d.o.o
Project area: 130 sqm
Project year: 2009 – 2010
Photographs: Miran Kambič
Kindergarten Kekec is an extension of a typical Slovene prefab kindergarten from the 1980s. Situated in one of Ljubljana’s residential areas, Kekec answers the growing demand for kindergartens. This comes as a result of Ljubljana having witnessed considerable population growth as well as legislative changes and a planned increase in building density inside the highway ring surrounding the city.
The construction is made from prefabricated wood and was built in three days only. The main design concept derives from the existing kindergarten’s lack of play equipment. The new façade solves this weakness by offering a play element along all three exterior walls. It consists of dark brown roughcast and timber slats revolving around their vertical axe. The slats are the color of natural wood on one side but painted into nine different bright colors on the other side. Aside from serving as a shading element, the toy slats provide for children’s play and learning: as the children manipulate the colorful wooden planks they get to know different colors, experience wood as a natural material and constantly change the appearance of their kindergarten, all at the same time.
The new kindergarten annex is attached to the south side of the existing building and stretches into the garden, which has enlarged the volume by an additional 130m2 of playroom surfaces. Playrooms are compact but allow for the furniture to be arranged in various formations. Daylight floods the interior from three sides as well as the roof. Located between the two playrooms, washrooms have large glass openings, which visually increase their volume as well as ease tutor supervision. Wardrobes in the narrow cloakroom are made from pure natural wood. Wardrobes in the narrow changing room are made from pure natural wood and have pull-out boxes for shoes in all the colors of the façade, which function as a space saver, since they also serve as a bench.