Located very close to the historical city center of Marmoutier, and surrounded by three other public facilities and forest, our project completes the educational pole of the city, providing a new nursery school and a recreational center for children aged from 3 months to 6 years. The building site, located in front of the Weissmauer (the ruins of the ancient city wall) and below a parking lot that separates the site from the city center, led us to imagine a project that could be seen from above and able to intrigue our little pupils with its unique shape. To do so, we decided to provide the building with a collection of colored skylights in order to create a new landscape on the roof of the equipment and to offer the city a finely crafted volume that echoes the roofs of the old town. Despite the articulated roofscape, we wanted the plan to be as rational and clean as possible.
The program brings together three entities that must operate independently, but that need to share some spaces. The plan is organized in three distinct areas: – facing North, the nursery school zone is as close as possible to the landscape and the Weissmauer. – facing South, the recreational center benefits from a garden shared with the school in front of it. – between those two, all the shared spaces: the entrance, the playroom, the central patio, the art room, and technical rooms. The light plays a fundamental role in this project, helping to create different atmospheres in the three areas of the project, and making the façade look vibrant and dynamic. The concrete panel used for the façade has a 3D linear texture that plays with light and shadow, and it makes the surface of the building enhance the unique shape of the skylights.
In order to distinguish the three entities living together in this project, even more, we decided to paint the inside of the skylights with powerful colors. Conscious of the power of color in shaping our emotions, we chose to encourage intuition and communication by painting the recreational center in blue shades; support balance and harmony by giving some green-vibes to the nursery school; and let kids express all their creativity, energy, and enthusiasm in the multi-color central area characterized by the art room, the playroom, and the patio.
All the furniture (which is all custom made) participate in this effort stimulating the children visually and challenging them to open and close doors and drawers to discover the colors hidden inside. Since the child well-being is our first and main goal, we decided to design the building windows at different heights in order to assure that even the youngest children are able to see outside, and the older ones can sit on the wide sill and be able to read, rest or play by the windows. The presence of the central patio guarantees optimal airflow and it provides a secure and fun play area for kids of any age.