Architects: Bonnard Woeffray Architectes
Location: Monthey, Switzerland
Collaborator: Nuno Ferreira
Client: Commune de Monthey
Project Year: 2007-2008
Project Area: 1,200 sqm
Photographs: Hannes Henz
Monthey’s new kindergarten is located in the town’s Cinquantoux Park and replaces the former villa that had become obsolete. Conceived as a large house for children, the venue assumes an almost organic shape that merges with the wooded park and offers a range of interior spaces. Following the same logic is its composition of volumes topped by a roof composed of gently slanting sections.
The building can accommodate 180 or so children. It offers two floors arranged as six separate units. Each unit is divided into two spaces for activity and rest, with a washroom and toilets in between. Each unit has a distinct character reflecting its position in the building; all benefit from different views of the park, and are bathed in sunlight in the morning or afternoon depending on the orientation.
The variety in the positions of the windows, all identical in size, contributes to a range of perceptions and facilitates visual contact for all ages.
While the construction is traditional, the exterior cladding is inspired by the world of childhood. The facades consist of timber slats finished in an array of toy-like colours, including pink, orange, red and green. Creating contrasting ambiences that are both happy and playful, the interior is composed of a rhythmic succession of coloured floors and ceilings, with as many colours as there are units.