Day care centre de kleine Kikker / Drost + van Veen architecten

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Architects: Drost + van Veen architecten
Location: De Uithof, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Client: Skohold BV
Project Area: 520 sqm
Project year: 2003
Photographs: Rob ‘t Hart

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The new building is a playful design, joyful and with a lot of colour. It overlooks the grazing sheep in the meadow. Next to the building, to the left, there is a characteristic old farm, a monument, with a thatch roof, on the right, a wooden cowshed.

The new building is conceived as a contemporary type of farm, in form, material and construction ( structure). The coloured facade and the aluminium roof contrast the rustic environment. The silhouette of the pointed roof refers to the existing farm building. Towards the back of the building, it transforms into a modernistic, functional building, with a flat roof, instead of a farm.

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The new extension contains four children’s groups, age 0-4. The organization of the spaces is simple and logical, yet provide many surprising views from one room to the next that makes it a perfect environment for children and their mentors.

ground floor plan
ground floor plan

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The building is symmetrical and is two stories high. The organization of the day-care is mirrored across the building’s central axis. There is a clear division in three zones. The front is reserved for the employees, the middle zone is used as playground and entrance, while the zone at the back contains the children’s groups. The big balcony at the back of this zone creates the outdoor space for the children on the first floor and also functions as a sun canopy against direct sunlight for the ground floor.

De kleine Kikker’s recognizable shape refers to that of its surrounding buildings, while it surprises through its distinguishing shape and its use of material and colour.

Cite: "Day care centre de kleine Kikker / Drost + van Veen architecten" 01 Oct 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 25 Apr 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=36513>

17 comments

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      I agree with john wayne completely…and look at all of those sharp edges – accidents waiting to happen. It looks like this architect didn’t consider ALL of the clients that would be using this facility (as far as the pictures can tell).

      • Thumb up Thumb down 0

        I understand your sentiments. I suspect this isn’t so much an indictment of poor design as poor photography. There’s no furniture in the few interior shots and the staged feeling really comes through. I take it the building wasn’t yet occupied at the time of the photographs.

        However, the architect has certainly thought through the building from the perspective of an adult managing a group of toddlers. Take a look closely at the stair photograph and you can see a built-in gate on the stair and the door handlesets are set unusually high.

  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Its funny, that so much of the stuff that got people so excited about the “superdutch” movement in the 1990s continues to be trotted out and looks so generic and dull now.

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      Ralph,
      I have noticed from a few recent comments on projects at this site that there appears to be a subtle backlash or rejection of the ‘superdutch-minimalism’. I was one who didn’t like it at first, but now I do. I will agree it has become expected and standard.

      Some of the big-building US firms (NBBJ, HOK, and KPF) have done the same thing with their highly-articulated Meier-esque architecture. (I like it, and its good design, but I want to keep the criticism objective). It seems once a fresh aesthetic has legions of competent followers – it no longer seems as fresh.

      Its like a cult college rock band, which gains broader fame, and then loses the interest of its original fans.

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    This project is some years old now, 4 or 5… I visited it 3 or 4 years ago, while traveling around the Netherlands, and its a wonderful building, its response is precisely driven by its context… its form is no accident or stylistic shape making over contextual response… you approach through agricultural buildings towards the gable end, responding the relationship of the surrounding buildings, and as you travel through the building, the view opens to that wonderful panoramic “snorkel” over the flat dutch landscape. There are very few “sharp edges” int he building… its like the built environment in which children grown up, like their homes… children should not be warped in cotton wool… and infact, from meeting and talking with the children (and parents), the building is really loved by its users… a very successful bit of architecture and building… BRAVO!

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      …”very few “sharp edges”"??? Look at the photo of the 4 toddlers on the balcony – the wooden bench has a sharp edge around it’s entire front perimeter, the galvanized metal railing has sharp vertical edges, the concrete stairs have sharp edges at the last two steps, the little bench behind the stairs has 4 sharp edges, what looks like a wall radiator adjacent to those same interior stairs has sharp edges, in the photo with the 4 children sitting in the window there is a box (fire hose? fire extinguisher) that protrudes from the wall with sharp edges that a small child can bump their head into, the same room has yet another radiator with, yes, sharp edges, there are metal lockers in the photo with two men entering the building – those metal lockers sit on what appears to be metal legs that protrude out from underneath the lockers with sharp metal edges…

      How can you say there are “few sharp edges” when I just pointed out numerous examples in only a few of the photos. This design for a child day care is still poor in my opinion. Little children are prone to falling, to tripping, to finding the sharp edges when an adult does not.

      • Thumb up Thumb down +1

        I take it you don’t have children? No matter what you do, children will find ways to hurt themselves. If you pamper them too much, they will fall that much harder in unfamiliar places.
        The one thing I’ve learnt from my kids is that they respond best by being taken seriously. Of course you try to protect them best you can, but, in my case at least, that did not mean replacing all the furniture in my house with rounded stuff and I don’t expect my daycare centre to do that either. I expect them to look after my children and create an environment where they feel at home. A building like this accomplishes that by playing into the imagination of a child (the front is precisely how a child would draw a house, the colours in the facade are a wonderful idea, imo).

      • Thumb up Thumb down 0

        I have one child, one on the way, and 8 nieces and nephews so I know quite well that children will find ways to hurt themselves – that doesn’t mean we should be carefree in our designs by introducing sharp edges that aren’t necessary for a daycare design to be successful. There are such things as recessed fire extinguisher cabinets, benches with rounded edges, etc.

        I have nothing against the colors – in fact I think they’re wonderful for the children in the same respect that you indicate – that the children would probably draw with the same colors.

        ‘m simply making an observation that for a daycare it appears to have more sharp edges than necessary for a successful design. Not having sharp edges in a daycare has nothing to do with pampering a child, it has to do with protecting someone else’s investment which is the daycare’s responsibility – hence the word “dayCARE”.

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

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