The site encompasses an iconic 1950's suburban setting, with a great balance of density and green outdoor spaces. The project is to replace a previous ‘fossil’ kindergarten structure from the early 1970's, which has deteriorated to an unhealthy condition and was situated in a way that it "clogged" a recreational park corridor, which initiated the original mid-century master plan. Almost half a century later, the goal was to bring back the original natural scheme and let the building, both from a site-strategic and architectural view point, become embedded, once again, in nature. Respecting and taking advantage of the natural shading potential of the mature trees on the site, the building occupies almost the same foot print of the previous structure. The human event and activity of the children structures the building in a clear way. All of the serving spaces align along the north end and are connected by the linear circulation space, which is wide enough to also serve as a play-street, and leads to the living-rooms to the south. This internal hierarchy responds to the thermal logic in the transition of the enclosure from completely closed off to the north, to completely open to the sunny south. Regarding the landscape revitalization goal, the northern front is not treated like a facade, but with the sequence of vertical wooden slats, which are thinned out over the openings, blends into the natural tectonic pattern of the green space. The light shining through the louvered parts during the darker seasons gives a mystical sensation and enhances the children's curiosity. Along with that, the calculated perception of the facade more as a landscape than as an architectural element, and the fact that landscape elements are less often attacked, serves as vandalism prevention, and as a result, keeps the maintenance costs low. In the inner play-concourse the spatial transition character is enhanced by rhythmic sky lights, which serve as a natural way-finding device to the living rooms. Juxtaposing, the all-glass southern enclosure embraces the sun and the light as the major thermal performance tools. The curvilinear facade maximizes the solar exposure and solar heat gain during the various positions of the sun in the cycle of a day. Spatially the concave areas of the glass-waves provide an intimate feel and a smooth transition from inside to outside. From the park, the all glass front de-materializes the building mass, and in this way blurs the boundaries between architecture and landscape. Whereas the southern multi-curvilinear glass wall, with triple glazed floor to ceiling glass, maximizes the solar gain, the three other highly insulated sides are clad with a skin of Thermally Modified Timer, in the form of slats on thermally modified plywood boards (TMT having a huge compensational potential to save the rainforests).
Parallel to exploring cutting-edge, intermediate termed solutions as an inter-generational collaboration, the plan is to let the youngest generation immediately grow up in an adequate built environment, which equips them with an intuitive advantage. This architectural enterprise is an intercultural investigation of the immediate implementation of didactical 'green' good-design, meaning human event shaping both archi- and eco-friendly indoor and outdoor space and form. The design case study project, which serves as an explorative vehicle for this strategy, is that for the first conceivable postfossil generation of societal inheritors, the city of Hannover meets the challenge as the pilot case, as an adequate didactical abode for similar places in the neighbouring communities as a local, regional, national and global potential.
In collaboration with the sun, the intensity of the children's activity is the basic thermal conditioner. The energetically optimized enclosure investigates the balance of both eco- and archi-friendliness and the sensual unison of space, form and nature. Of most importance is a raised awareness of the parents to have their kids grow up in a place which is an integral part of a healthy environment and that way the children might eventually become the environmental specialists and teach their parents about behaviorism, which prepares their families for a postfossil future.
The kindergarten is also important in a more immediate, direct way as a focal point in the community. As much as the children are the central focus of our all hope, the building becomes the focal heart of the community. The building design as a very tactile, organic manifestation encourages the community to engage with it in a barrier-free way. The entrance of the building invites the community to communicate and stay for a chat.