The house for a kindergarten in Valdaora di Sotto, South Tyrol, illustrates the local mesh of tradition, contemporary life and nature within the slowly grown village structure. This third kindergarten designed by feld72 aligns itself to the setting, without being subordinate to it. Subtly placed, the structure responds to the predominant presence of the parish church with its cemetery chapel and the elementary school in the village centre. The timber building is surrounded by a solid wall, as if it were sitting in a case. Together they provide a hideaway. Here, a place for children and the village community is the interface for tradition and modernity. The familiar and the exceptional together find a home in Valdaora di Sotto.
The wall is of varied materiality and volume, since it changes from garden fence to boundary wall, an interpretation as much as an elaboration of the existing. Inside the courtyard it shows itself entirely in wood and in a friendly gesture embraces the garden. Roofed, weather-protected areas are set up in the passage to the building. The handling of the wall as an architectural element unfolds in a playful way, architecture and playground fuse. The traditional element of fencing-in a property gains in complexity and quality – it shelters, frames, invites to play and presents insights and outlooks. The building itself remains clear and yet manifold.
Boundaries and fences determine the village fabric. It is a settlement of clear-cut edges separating private and public space. The kindergarten as an architectural intervention plays with the boundaries’ diverse intensities by putting them into its enclosing multiform wall. That effects an exciting contextual merge with a prevailing element of the built environment. The surrounding wall creates distinct spatial edges within the village ensemble. The unity of house and court is embedded in the traditional context and grants the kindergarten the architectural conditions for nest security and freedom alike. Located on the northern boundary of the property, the compact house offers space for a sunny garden. Free space for the children is optically and functionally separated from the road by the ambient structure.
Uniform materiality displays simplicity. Plastered brickwork and wood prevalent inside the kindergarten create identity and a sense of belonging. A warm and easy atmosphere is generated within the interiors thanks to the subtly complex use of local timber. For the children, the group rooms represent the starting point of their daily explorations. The rooms are designed to be unpretentious and calm, providing space for individual changes. Small areas for retreat are offered by the large window recess or the accessible partition furniture leading to the cloakroom. The assembly room and multi-function rooms can be used connected or individually. On both levels, the suggested spatial concept enables attractive variations in the educational approach.