LONDON NURSERY SCHOOL

New school in London-Greenwich London / United Kingdom / 2015

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Designing a nursery is a very challenging issue, we have to keep in mind that we are creating a space where future generations will grow. In a nursery we shape our children's mind, so we are modeling our future. We are not just leaving an important sign into the environment, like every building does, but we are leaving a sign into our children's mind, into our future.


Nowadays London is living one of the most important urban transformations in the world, with the fast growth of high-rise buildings. Many people claim that the city is out of control and it's losing its identity. Making a structure like a nursery in a city that is facing such a controversial development, is even more awkward. We have to design a structure able to create the right relationship with the city and, at the same time, the building itself must guide children's mind toward a sustainable development. To do so, we have to recover the relationship between our cities and nature, creating a right balance between them which helps us to live a better life.


KEY POINTS


Our project has been designed developing four key points:  


1)    dynamic spaces


2)    visual connections


3)    relationship with nature


4)   reuse of materials


The structure features mainly four parts that collide together to create the shape of the building. There is a huge faceted structure, where most of the areas are located of the nursery, two glass boxes where there are the main entrance and the dining hall and four sloped-roof nursery room, each one with a different orientation. The contrast between the two glass boxes and the rest of the building generates that sense of dynamism we have mentioned before and, in addition, evokes the spirit of London, which is a city in constant transformation.


The main entrance of the building is located in the North side of the area, inside one of the two glass boxes. In order to make children feel comfortable, the entrance is the result of the fusion of the environment and the building. In this place, nature meets structure and joins it without any barriers. In fact, the lawn gets inside the entrance and three trees stand out just right before the paving starts.


Once passed the main entrance, there is the core of the building, a huge space with a patio in the middle, to let the children always see the environment. This is a multifunctional area, where children can play, can get into the nursery room and it allows staff to go all over the structure.


The nursery rooms are five and they are divided depending on the age of the children. Each couple of nursery rooms has a shared bathroom, and the two classes for 3 to 4 and 4 to 5 years old feature a huge sliding door in order to create a unique space for those activities they have to do together. In these rooms children have their mainly ordered activities and it's where they rest during sleeping time.  Every nursery room has a different orientation in order to give children different points of view. The internal side and the external one feature glass-sliding doors, so children can always have amazing views avoiding visual boundaries, stimulating their creativity.


On the south side of the building there is the second glass box, in which the dining hall is located. This area also represent the connection between the inside with the outside, in fact it's the place where children have to pass to access the playground zone and the outside area. When the nursery is closed, the dining hall can be used for yoga lessons or meetings, accessing the structure by the secondary entrance, which is generally used by the nursery's staff and is located on the South-East corner of the building. In between the dining hall and the secondary entrance, the paving sinks in the ground with three big steps, in order to create a little theater where children can improve and perform their arts skills.


On the East side of the building there are a kitchen for the dining hall, a washing room, a laundry with a small storage space, the staff room featuring a glass wall in order to allow staff to always keep an eye on the children, a closet for the staff, the principal's room and the medical office. 


Every nursery room has direct access to the external area through the glass-sliding doors. Right out of the nursery rooms there is an anti-shock paving, which allows children to play in safety conditions. Nursery rooms from 2 years old up to 5 years old also have terraces hanging over the river, which allow children's views to go beyond the borders without any visual barrier.


In the North-West side of the external nursery's area, there are a vegetable garden and an orchard, where children can learn how to grow fruits and vegetables and to take care about nature, improving their sensitivity related to the environment. 


The South side of the external area features the playground that is directly accessible from the dining hall. This area is used to teach children the importance of reuse and recycling, in order to give them the right model to keep in mind when they'll grow up. In fact, there are swings made of old tyres hanging up to trees that have been cut down from the construction of other buildings in the city. The base of the trunks of others cut down trees are used to create an area on a mulching ground, where children can enjoy jumping from one trunk to another. There are also old tyres displaced on the lawn, where children can play passing through them, or huge wooden barrels with big openings to allow children to get in. Staff can monitor children while they're playing, seating on a round wooden bench with leaf-shaped canopies, casting pleasant shadows on them during the summer season.


There are two parking areas, one on the South side of the site and the bigger one on the North side. This one, featuring 40 regular and 2 disable parking lots, is used to drop children and that's the reason it's placed near the main entrance. The parking area, placed on the South side of the site, features 19 regular and 1 disable parking lots. It's used by nursery staff and, while the nursery is closed, it can be used to access the structure to attend the yoga lessons or the meeting organized inside the dining hall.

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    Designing a nursery is a very challenging issue, we have to keep in mind that we are creating a space where future generations will grow. In a nursery we shape our children's mind, so we are modeling our future. We are not just leaving an important sign into the environment, like every building does, but we are leaving a sign into our children's mind, into our future. Nowadays London is living one of the most important urban transformations in the world, with the fast growth of high-rise...

    Project details
    • Year 2015
    • Status Competition works
    • Type Kindergartens / Schools/Institutes
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