Sustainability for a child's well-being
Designing kindergartens is not an easy job. What children experience during the first years of life is crucial to their growth, as well as ensuring the correct development of their cognitive abilities. If you wish to design nursery schools in Italy, you need to be aware of what the laws prescribe for kindergartens and elementary schools. Among these, the guidelines of the Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR) speak about sustainability, material landscape, use of color and soft furnishings.
It was by following these guidelines that the group ZPZ Partners designed the company nursery of Cariparma, called CariBambini (in Italian, a play on words that means 'dear children'). The group ZPZ specializes in the design of spaces for children and in sustainable architecture: the perfect mix for those choosing sustainability as a form of education.
CariBimbi kindergarten covers a total area of 3000 square meters and houses two classes, for a total of about 50 children. The kindergarten is a real educational citadel; it is organized into separate pavilions connected by a comunal covering. All the classrooms are accessible from a heated, indoor central square, which becomes the heart of the school, a space where children meet, play, perform a little bit of theater and practice other activities.
The orientation of the complex places workshops and classrooms facing south, in order to give them the best view, on to the park, and the best degree of solar radiation. A line of trees protects the rooms from an excessive exposure to the sun, aiding then the bris-soleil shading system. The service areas and the changing rooms are oriented to the north, and the kitchen is located to the west with private access for suppliers.
Sustainability, in this project, is as an ethical and aesthetic choice. All materials are free of toxic components to protect the health of the little users of the building. The practice of bio-building allows, above all, a reduction of energy wastage and the optimization of resources, as well as giving a high pedagogic quality to the learning and play spaces.
The material landscape and furnishing of a kindergarten, as already mentioned, are fundamental to a child's cognitive development. The choice of the architects to encourage children with the idea of experimentation is seen in the fact that each environment contains many different materials and surfaces - smooth, rough, matt or glossy - as well as bright and exciting colors, different light sources (each room has an adjustable dimmer), and soft furnishings made of organic shapes.
Furthermore, the protection of the children's health and safety is fundamental in the architectural design of a kindergarten. The psychometric development of the child can be introduced by using furnishings that, in total safety, encourage the child to experiment and learn. This is the case for the chairs, tables, lockers and modular accessories which, being made of different colors and tactile materials, can stimulate the learning process of an early years child.
Photo Credits: ZPZ Partners
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