Architects: njiric+ arhitekti doo
Location: Zagreb, Croatia
Architects in Charge: Hrvoje Njirić, Davor Busnja
Structure: G&F – Eugen Gajsak, Zagreb
Services: SM Inzenjering – Slavko Mamic / HIT Projekt – Slavko Simunovic / ELAG – Zvonimir Gajsak
Client: Grad Zagreb
Contractor: Jelacic d.o.o.
Project Area: 2,300 sqm
Budget: 900 €/sqm
Project Year: 2005
Construction Year: 2006-2008
Photographs: Domagoj Blazevic & njiric+ arhitekti
How to design a kindergarten on a too small plot ? What if the plot is overshadowed by a massive nine-story block on it’s south side ? What if the plot is surrounded by the heavy traffic?
The kindergarten is initially conceived as a single-story mat building – compact, introverted, autocatalytic, with clearly defined borders. Due to the context, the mat is pushed away from the shadow and folded up towards the sun.
Local suburban matrix is echoed in the repetitive small-scale structure of units and patios. This chequered board of solids and voids is bent into vertical plane – gardens become terraces, corridor transforms into staircase. The outline of the building is continuous and closed, except on the west side which is “stripped” and treated like a glazed section to interact socially with a frequent neighbourhood path. An hommage to the american artist Dan Graham (“An Alteration of the Suburban House”, 1978).
Such a layout offers a variety of open-air spaces – patios, covered (winter) terraces and a roof-top garden. There is a big playground in the non-buildable area at the back side of the house.
Interior is organized as a sequence of spaces linked with “The Children Street”. It’s meandering character and a multitude of in-between spaces, supported by the intensive transparency and colour coding, attempt to create a scenery of a true “urban” experience for the child.
The children and staff premises are completely intertwined. This typological innovation mirrors a series of didactic relations. A child can see a woman typing on a computer, the other ones counting money, sewing linen or cooking their meal. There is a man who receives the new goods, the other ones control the heating or repair the furniture. Walking down “The Children Street” and seeing all the professions lined up left and right – like an everyday situation in the city. An introduction to the real life.