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Feb 20, 2014

Monstrum creating unique monster playgrounds across Denmark

    

Ole B Nielsen, founder of Monstrum with Christian Jensen began his monster playground building journey after being given the opportunity to build a playground at his son's kindergarten.  “Designing playgrounds is an unpretentious and fun mix between sculpture, architecture, scenography, craftsmanship and pedagogy,” says Nielsen.


Going against the standardization seen across the playground industry, Monstrum believes in allowing each location to influence the design and inspire the theme. Whimsical arrangements of distorted buildings, giant monsters and transporation vessels provide a fantastical environment where children can let their imagination go.


There is no plastic, flashy gadgets or components, rather Monstrum have opted for a more traditional and simple approach of using wood and screws - crafted into a variety of imaginative forms.  

Says Jensen, “What makes our playgrounds unique is that kids are not able to figure out how to use them just by looking at them. They have to explore it. When they are running or climbing through the playground there is not only one right way. They have to consider a lot of options and paths assessing their motor skills and safety. This creates continuous movement."

Via Colossal and Dwell.

Baukind help their clients to source and build their 'Kita's - creating integrated and "child friendly" spaces

    
Baukind was brought to fruition when architect Nathalie Dziobek-Bepler volunteered to help her child's kindergarten find a new premises. This experience coupled with Germany's lack of centres to meet the high demand for childcare led her to establish the multi-discplinary practice, which employs architects and designers. Baukind not only design or "fit-oput" spaces, but provide a service to help find appropriate property and submit funding applications.

Many early childhood practitioners (parents, businesses, churches) are often overwhelmed with finding and fixing potential spaces for early childcare. With considering issues such as leasing, building application/consents, costing, and the programmatic requirements for the early childhood centre space - services, sanitary requirements, equipment, accessibility etc.

Baukind's expertise thus alleviates some of this stress, delivering a transformative space for early childhood education and care.



Kita Hisa
Kita Hisa is located in a previously used retail space. Baukind have cleverly used a number of tools to differentiate space and create a multitude of spatial experiences. Circular (painted in colours or blackboard, carpeted or mirrored) patterns stretch across the walls, floors and ceiling. Platforms, boxes and storage/furniture modules of differing sizes may be used for functional reasons (for storing toys, plants or sitting on) to purely for play. The integrated and considered design encourages discovery and exploration in the children who attend, as well as offering a distinct place for them to call their own.

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Kita Dragon Cave
Kindergarten Dragon Cave employs an old salt sauna as it's location. Built for the non-profit company Drachenreiter (Dragon Rider), which builds and runs nurseries and daycares locally. This fit-out features a natural "forest" theme - the floor-to-ceiling wood trunks encouraging the children to climb and exercise. Wooden tunnels serve as benches and platforms - offering storage and play, while the hallway serves also as an instrument, where kids can with a stick lightly rap at the hollow dowels planted against one of its walls. The dialogue between rooms is carried throughout - the walls featuring verdant rolling hills and "stick" coat hangers found from salvaged wood scraps. The distinct visual language, multifuncational features and pared back palette of colour and texture provides a stable yet stimulating environment for these children.

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Kita Loftschloss
Kindergarten Loftschloss is the first kindergarten in Berlin that is located in a shopping mall. The large 250 square metre space broken into smaller areas with the use of angled walls, which is then further broken down with storage, levels and holes.The colour scheme, furniture and built-in components makes for an integrated scheme, where the kids feel like they are explorers and conquerers of their surroundings. 

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Kita Spree Sprats
The Kita Spree Sprats was formerly a Shisha Cafe. The entrance/lobby area or "wardrobe" (as the Germans call it) features a boxed seating area with herbs and a collection of boxes for lost property. A blackboard sliding door takes you through to the "group" rooms or "classrooms" featuring organic "grass" mats. Wooden strips in front of the heaters are climbing aids and lined to be a 70 meter long marble run. A sculpted white ceiling and colourful floor painted semi up the walls implies a feeling of a landscape which is waiting to be explored.

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Feb 15, 2014

A confident new Auckland centre that resembles the New Zealand fantail


Fantails Childcare in the new Auckland sub-division of Silverdale does not shy away from the street. Rather it presents a bold "look at me" faceted glass facade, like that of the fantail from which it takes its inspiration.



Accommodating children aged six months to five years of age, Fantails designed by Collingridge and Smith, architects of the previously blogged and award-winning Te Mirumiru centre in Kawakawa is the third facility of its kind. Four intimate settings cater for 25 children (infants, toddlers, juniors and preschoolers) each.



Large windows (including clerestory) allow plenty of natural light to penetrate the internal spaces. While glass sliding doors on the northern side open up onto an outdoor landscaped play space, featuring both natural and man-made play elements including a fort and bike track.



The considered architectural design extends to the interior fit-out. Custom-designed child-scaled furniture and flexible storage modules allows the space to be broken up into a number of functional zones. 


The splayed triangular plan cleverly negotiates the relatively small site, splitting the space equally into parking, indoor classrooms and services and outdoor play. The centre bravely stands as a welcoming addition to a new Auckland suburb, providing an iconic symbol for the community.

Via Collingridge and Smith Architects and Local Matters.

Feb 5, 2014

A parking lot in New York City is transformed into a garden, greenhouse and culinary classroom

 
Edible Schoolyard NYC's showcase preschool and primary school, P.S. 216 transforms a parking lot into a half-acre organic garden where children are taught how to harvest over 60 types of fruits, grains and vegetables.



The Edible Schoolyard (ESY) project was started by renowned chef Alice Waters to provide spaces in which children plant, harvest, prepare food and eat together, creating a comprehensive interdisciplinary curriculum that connects food systems to academic subjects such as literacy, science, social studies, math and the arts.

Terming the project "the delicious revolution", Waters says that "when the hearts and minds of our children are captured by a school lunch curriculum, enriched with experience in the garden, sustainability will become the lens through which they see the world."



The architectural system is designed to cater for learning and food preparation. Working together as a series of interlinked sustainable systems, these elements produce energy and heat, collect rainwater, process compost and sort waste to create an entirely off-grid structure.



The building breaks into three parts. The flowers correspond to the office and a generous classroom, lit from above and the side by circular windows. The slant roofed greenhouse is clad in translucent polycarbonate with an alumunium structure. In the back, coated in blue rubber, is the tool shed, a bathroom and cistern. 



At the heart of the school is the "kitchen classroom", with three learning stations, built-in storage, and small office surrounding three dining tables where up to thirty students can enjoy meals they prepare. The internal joinery colours matching the external shingle, patterned facade.



The bold patterned facade of pixelated giant red and white blooms stands out from the neighbouring highway, thus acting as a branding and giving the school a unique identity. 


Since the programme began in 1995, school gardens have popped up all over! Explore the movement's progress on this map. 

It is a fantastic concept that teaches children not only about healthy and sustainable living, but how to work together and as a community. The architecturally designed NYC P.C. 216 model is perhaps one which can be developed and reiterated across numerous continents and educational situations.

Thus becoming an integral component of future educational facilities.