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  1. ArchDaily
  2. Projects
  3. Kindergarten
  4. France
  5. Hondelatte Laporte Architectes
  6. 2012
  7. Giraffe Childcare Center / Hondelatte Laporte Architectes

Giraffe Childcare Center / Hondelatte Laporte Architectes

  • 01:00 - 9 January, 2013
Giraffe Childcare Center / Hondelatte Laporte Architectes
© Philippe Ruault
© Philippe Ruault
  • Architects

  • Location

    Boulogne-Billancourt, France
  • Project Manager

    Virginie Davo
  • Project Team

    Charlotte Fagart
  • Engineering

  • Client

    SAEM Val de Seine Aménagement
  • Cost

  • Area

    1450.0 sqm
  • Project Year

  • Photographs

© Philippe Ruault © Philippe Ruault © Philippe Ruault © Philippe Ruault +24

© Philippe Ruault
© Philippe Ruault

From the architect. The Giraffe childcare center is located in the C1 block of the Seguin Rives de Seine district in Boulogne-Billancourt, a suburban area of Paris. The program houses a 60 bed childcare center and 20 bed day nursery. The building has been awarded the green “zéro Energie Effinergie” label. This  public building is located next to Jean Nouvel’s “Horizons” tower, at the junction between the “Vieux pont de Sèvres” neighbourhood, built in the 70’s, and the new area called “ le Trapèze”. The High density of this area gives it a rugged skyline.

© Philippe Ruault
© Philippe Ruault

To be integrated into this particular urban landscape, the building is composed of three tiers. Each of the south-facing playgrounds is in continuity with the interior spaces and is identified by a unique concrete animal sculpture. Viewed from the surrounding towers, the regular sequence of terraces offers a real « fifth facade » to the neighborhood.

© Philippe Ruault
© Philippe Ruault
© Philippe Ruault
© Philippe Ruault

The facades of the building are made out of white corrugated iron that provides a minimal background to the wild animal sculptures. The idea is to animate the urban landscape by using a child’s imagination. The wild animals appropriate the space; a giraffe appears to be peacefully eating the leaves of the trees from the neighbouring park, a polar bear tries to clamber up the steps, while a family of ladybirds climbs the façade in an attempt to reach the interior patio.

© Philippe Ruault
© Philippe Ruault
© Philippe Ruault
© Philippe Ruault

Architecture turns into storytelling. The building changes its identity and becomes a landscape in its own right, a metaphor for the urban jungle. The animals and the trees link the building to nature and motion. The giraffe has become a banner for the nursery since it is visible in the surrounding area from all angles. We walk through its legs to enter the building. Through their affable form, the lively animal sculptures invite us to live our dreams. These playful and dreamlike sculptures introduce a little bit of fantasy into the routine life of the town in order to inspire our lives with a bit of poetry.

© Philippe Ruault
© Philippe Ruault
Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: "Giraffe Childcare Center / Hondelatte Laporte Architectes" 09 Jan 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>
Read comments


Shahzeb Ejaz · January 16, 2013

when architecture turns into storytelling for the kids....

Jaaamin · January 14, 2013

Never mind the giraffe. What's that nice looking red brick building with white panels behind it?

Vicksr · January 17, 2013 01:32 AM

Jean Nouvel

milou · January 10, 2013

So obviously the point is to know whether or not it is a cantilever or if the giraffe actually caries that big block on her poor tiny long legs ?
I would be so sad if she would have to suffer carrying this weight for infinity !

Chuck · January 11, 2013 03:02 AM

It's not a real giraffe.


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© Philippe Ruault

Giraffe 儿童保育中心 / Hondelatte Laporte Architectes