- Architects In Charge: Nicola Russi, Angelica Sylos Labini, Pietro Ferrario
- Collaborator: Stefano Dalmiglio
- City: Correggio
- Country: Italy
Text description provided by the architects. The Covered Garden is the extension of a private kindergarten, the result of the donation of the Recordati family , in Correggio Emilia in the province of Reggio Emilia, a region that has turned innovation in the relationship between didactics and architecture into a trademark.
The project by Laboratorio Permanente occupies a portion of the garden of the school. For this reason the whole project focuses on the creation of a new structure which, through different strategies, compensate for this occupation: building an accesible and partly green roof, creating large openings facing the trees of the existing garden, introducing a patio with trees in the heart of the building. The goal of the project was to promote a constant relationship of the new structure with the outside.
Even while keeping the kids indoors, the structure seems an integral part of the garden. The generous use of glass windows makes the perimeter walls almost completely transparent. Some of the façade is recessed from the boundary of the structure, creating balconies and bow windows that allow users to enjoy privileged views over open spaces, enjoyable even during the winter months.
On the roof, accessible via an outside staircase, there is another outdoor area available to the children, in order to give back the space taken from the garden.
The roof was conceived as an accessible system of “environments” where children can carry out various activities: they can create an orchard in the soil basin, play on different whimsical textures created by the installation of self-blocking modules, sit on the comfortable child-size wooden bench. In the soil basin along the perimeter we have placed tall flowering Verbene plants (Verbena bonariensis).
The organizational distribution strategy of the interior has been developed with the academic director and proposes a surface which is as free as possible, with points of view and internal openings from one environment to the next. Inside the building there are no pillars and the structural organization of the building is settled on the edges to keep the geography of space inside as flexible as possible.
The central patio is painted in blue and in it were planted two flowering apple trees (Malus Everest). It works as a light well, a kaleidoscope of colours and scents, capable of bringing natural light even in the heart of the building. The extension covers an area of about 400 square meters, distributed on a single layer. The functions provided are two relocated sections, two bathrooms, a sleep area and a meal area.
The structure is made of reinforced concrete and has been the subject of a careful study of seismic structural engineering carried out by a structure engineer in accordance with the current legislation, which is very restrictive. The vertical cladding is made of pine wood and glass and is shielded by large red orange and yellow curtains, that protect from excessive sunshine in summer and that, if closed, create fun games of transparency with the vegetation of the garden.
Natural lighting is entrusted to the perimeter windows, the patio and the concrete and glass skylight that illuminates the bathroom area. The artificial lighting is mainly through suspended bodies facing the ceiling.