Kindergarten Ajda / Arhitektura Jure Kotnik

© Miran Kambic

Architects: Arhitektura Jure Kotnik
Location: Ravne Na Koroškem,
Design Team: Jure Kotnik, Andrej Kotnik, Tjaša Mavrič, Tina Marn
Container System: Conhouse
Producer: Trimo D. D.
Client: Municipality Ravne Na Koroškem
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: Miran Kambic

Kindergarten Ajda is the extension a kindergarten in Ravne na Koroškem, a Slovene town well known for its long tradition of manufacturing steel. Ajda is located in a housing neighborhood built in the 1980s. It has replaced a former temporary kindergarten extension, which was set up from three containers and had one playroom, offering at the time immediate relief for lack of kindergarten space.

© Miran Kambic

Since containers proved a good solution, the local authorities commissioned the new, permanent kindergarten extension to be built out of containers as well 13 containers ISO 20’ were therefore added to the three existing ones and all of them carefully incorporated into a unique whole, once again showing the ease with which containers help efficiently and quickly manage building size: as they are added or removed, container buildings can grow larger or smaller. Ajda’s containers are arranged into clusters and joined by a single roof, with spaces in between used for various purposes, such as dressing room, covered terraces and multi-purpose entrance. Since the frame structure of the kindergarten is from containers, the result is a spacious kindergarten constructed within a budget lower than that of an average Slovene kindergarten.

Ground Floor Plan

Ajda consists of a total of 16 containers, which host three classrooms, two covered terraces and two washrooms for children, all of them fluidly connected with the dressing room and multi-purpose entrance hall. In addition to the existing playroom, which was preserved from the temporary construction, Ajda now has two larger classrooms consisting of five containers each and covering a total surface of 73 sqm each. This is almost twice as much (+75%) as the state minimum standards require.

© Miran Kambic

The interior is not only spacious but well illuminated, since the playrooms’ longer walls are fully glazed to enable children good visual communication with the green surroundings. The multi-purpose entrance hall is spacious and accessible from both sides of the kindergarten. It hosts a children’s art gallery, play area and reading nook, and is equipped with a mobile theatre screen. One corner of the kindergarten was made into roofed open-air terraces in teak wood, allowing for the children to play outside well protected from weather inconveniences all year round.

© Miran Kambic

The signature design feature of kindergarten Ajda is its didactic façade, made from thick anthracite isolative and fire-resistant boards, which comply with high energy-efficiency standards, and covered in colorful magnets of five colors. The lightweight magnets are foldable so that children can manipulate them with ease, combining colorful design blocks to create animals, vehicles, buildings and other imaginative shapes.


The interactive façade helps improve children’s motor skills, eye-hand coordination and problem-solving techniques, as well as stimulates creativity and encourages the matching of colors, shapes and sizes. This design novelty of the world’s first magnetic façade combines interest, benefit and creativity in one: it can function as a convenient teaching tool for teachers, a support in the learning process for children, and by constantly changing the kindergarten’s appearance it keeps triggering children’s imagination day after day.

© Miran Kambic

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Cite: "Kindergarten Ajda / Arhitektura Jure Kotnik" 28 Nov 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 22 May 2015. <>
  • al

    Why grey???

    • godryk

      I assume you refer to the façade. Although I don’t think that ever children-related building should be a massive color orgy, I would recommend to read the text. The dark pannels sre necessary for the magnet-game. I think it’s very cool.

  • Annavictoriagarcia

    Why not? It’s a magnetized facade, so that may happened to be the color of the material they were looking for?

  • john john lin


  • nikos saridakis

    I love the concept and the result,keep on your excellent work!!