Lots of space for children, lots of room for imagination. A new two-story building for 100 children was built in Berlin Mahlsdorf. Bright, inviting and with a large outdoor area, the KiKu Kinderland daycare center offers the children a protected free space to explore independently. An extremely narrow plot of land forces an elongated building that is simultaneously structured and loosened up by the alternation of recesses and projections. This creates the so-called experience niches – sensory, optical and acoustic experience.
Client — Kinderzentren Kunterbunt
Size — 1170 sqm for 65 children
Services — LPH 1-8, interior design
Completion — 03/2019
Location — Berlin
The experience niches structure the building and, based on the childlike spirit of discovery, offer a variety of surprises and opportunities for independent research, observation and experience. An integrated stage for spontaneous performances, sound installations for training the ear, large-scale murals on panel walls and raised beds for urban gardening – the building as a journey of discovery. The façade is not just a protective shell, but a world of experience and an offer to the child’s imagination. The children can meet their different needs for retreat, communal activity or immersed play and find their own personal niche. In terms of color, the bays are adapted to the corporate design of the sponsor and form a colorful contrast to the cement-gray plaster.
The niches and projections break up the long structure and form a unified design. The recesses in the structure are clad in glazed larch and emphasize the niches of experience through the color contrast. The entire building is manufactured in modular construction and has a high qualitative standard.
Situated in the middle of a purely residential area, the juxtaposition of the houses leaves hardly any space for a place where people can come together. For this reason, the entrance area of the daycare center was designed to be very open, the property boundary was moved to the rear, and the forecourt thus became a public space. The flat greenery makes the square easily visible and supports the friendly and open-minded character. The square becomes a social meeting place.
The boundary wall to the neighboring property is divided by sections with panel paint and gets an additional use. Creative wall painting in large format that the rain makes disappear again. Partly open to the public, the walls are also a place of communication for young and old.
As a counterpart to the cubic incisions in the facade, the circle is found as a guiding motif in the interior. Large circles on the walls lead through the daycare center and are also found as openings and interior windows. The incisions in the facade also form spatial niches in the interior. A niche completely lined with mirrors dissolves the perception of space and transports the visitor into unknown dimensions.
Each group is assigned its own color canon, making it easier for the children to find their way around and supporting their sense of belonging to a group. The large-format circles are each reflected on the opposite wall of the group rooms as a recess and create the association of a vault – inviting and protective.
Playing with windows at different heights, adapted to the height of the children, draws attention to the child’s perspective. Changing the scale conveys respect and recognition to the children with the help of architecture. An important basis for healthy and child-oriented development.
Behind the building, the property opens up to a large garden with play elements and green spaces. The design concept is also continued in the outdoor space. The cubic design language is found in multifunctional climbing and seating landscapes and small bays, levels and protrusions are formed everywhere. A world for children – protective and free.