Together with GBP Architects, we have taken on the challenge of transforming a listed former canteen and casino, dating back to the 1930s, into a family-friendly space. The former Hertlein site in Spandau-Hakenfelde has been developed into an attractive residential quarter, with more than 1,800 new apartments created. Various shared spaces with workshops and co-working spaces which are fostering a sense of community, are complemented by the kindergarten with an adjacent farmhouse and restaurant, serving as a central meeting point within the newly developed Havelufer district.

Client — KAURI CAB Development Berlin GmbH and FRÖBEL Bildung und Erziehung gGmbH
size — 936 sqm for 102 children
services — Interior design
completion — 03/2024
Location — Berlin Spandau
photographer — HEJM

The conversion of the listed 1930s casino building into a kindergarden took 4 years. The middle part of the building had to be demolished and replaced by a new construction. It now connects the kindergarten with a part of the former casino where a restaurant, a club, several guest apartments, and an event hall are located. The listed building is complemented by the simple interior design, which does not compete with the historic construction. Clear forms and harmoniously coordinated colors blend into the existing building, creating a calm and pleasant atmosphere. The dark green linoleum floor runs throughout the entire kindergarten, providing a beautiful contrast to the light wood surfaces and the gentle color scheme. Thus, the interior design receives a lightness that benefits the entire building.

A central point within the kindergarten rooms is the kitchen. It is deliberately designed for children and adapted to their needs and proportions. Due to the spacious design and the unobstructed view even into the dishwashing area, the children can participate in all processes and actively contribute. They gather experiences in food preparation, experience self-efficacy, and learn about food as well as kitchen tools and their usage. In the adjacent children’s restaurant, which also serves as an event space, meals can be eaten together afterwards.

The various themed and group rooms of the kindergarten provide space for climbing and physical exploration. There are also retreat areas and quiet reading corners available. For example, in the library, there are shelves with inset letters, satisfying that initial pre-school curiosity about learning to read as well as providing ample space for children’s books. The various platforms within the kindergarten also serve as storage space for the mattresses that can be used for nap time.

Different sized openings in the platforms provide additional climbing options and allow even the youngest children to go on exploration tours. This creates new perspectives and small hiding spots. The interior windows connect the group and themed rooms with the long corridors, as well as with each other, encouraging communication across spatial boundaries. Additionally, the corridors are intentionally designed as play corridors, thus expanding the children’s range of movement.

In the bathrooms, the color scheme of the group rooms is reflected within the tiles and changing units. The children’s shower is spacious and offers plenty of room for extensive water play. A visually appealing addition is the use of different tile formats, which picks up on the original format of 15x30cm of the existing wall tiles in the entrance areas and interprets them in a contemporary way. The tiled wall surfaces are thus loosened up, appearing playful yet simple and unobtrusive.

The spacious premises are complemented by additional activity offerings. The construction and atelier rooms allow the children to be creative. A LEGO wall not only encourages building upwards but also provides a new experience of three-dimensional space. There is plenty of space for painting and crafts in the studio. Storage space has been integrated into all rooms, enabling a peaceful environment. This way, children are not distracted but supported in focusing on what is beneficial for them.

Im Außenraum der Kita finden sich neben großen Grün- und Sandflächen, Klettereinheiten, ein Trampolin, Verstecke in Weidenhütten und gepflasterte Spielhügel. Kleine Unebenheiten im Untergrund und die Verwendung unterschiedlicher Materialien schaffen sowohl ein haptisches als auch ein motorisches Erlebnisfeld. Der kindliche Bewegungsdrang kann ausgelebt werden und gleichzeitig wird die Körperwahrnehmung geschult.