“Into the Wild” – embedded in a newly developed campus, the environment is very urban. In the daycare center, the children are transported into a jungle. The urban environment dissolves more and more in the interior and leads into a world of plants, natural materials and free lines. The company-owned daycare center of a Berlin tech company, operated by ‘Fröbel-Kindergärten’, opened in January 2019. The competition design resulted in a versatile world of experience for 65 children with a directly connected outdoor space.
Client: Berlin tech company
Size: 800 sqm for 65 children
Services: LPH 1-8 interior / exterior
Children need order and structure to grow up in safety, but they also need nature and wildness to develop. Creativity and free play are strongly influenced by an open and stimulating environment. The children can and may test themselves, experiment and experience their self-efficacy.
The daycare center is divided into different zones – from urban order to wild nature. The entrance area is still designed in shades of gray and parallel lines, but the group rooms increasingly dissolve the lines and are complemented by shades of green and natural materials.
Zone 1 (urban structure): The entrance area and the corridors depict the urban world from the outside. Here, the lines are still strict and orderly. Play and hiding places in the fixtures allow a smooth transition from outside to inside.
Children need different options for the transition to daycare. Hiding, playing, dressing up or retreating – every child is different. Offers in the corridors and checkrooms make it easier to say goodbye to parents and enter the daycare world.
Zone 2 (tamed nature): In the group rooms, the orderly structures break down. Nature makes its way into the daycare center. Nature in this zone is tamed and yet idiosyncratic. Natural green and earth tones dominate the rooms.
Naturalness of materials is one of the main features of the nursery: oiled wooden platforms and fixtures, wildwood trees and there are plants everywhere. Multifunctional elements provide enough inspiration for children to get by with very few additional toys.
The rooms are organized in a way that promotes the daily routine, helps children to be independent and encourages discovery. Furniture blends with the space to create a landscape. Caves offer space to hide, platforms at different heights create individual areas and structure the space without dividing it.
A ball pool in combination with a climbing unit and a slope for sliding and rolling offers the opportunity for exuberant romping. The plateaus with integrated slide and free-standing wildwood trees can be climbed to your heart’s content and from all sides.
A special highlight for the sensory experience is the water landscape. For hours, the little explorers can experiment with imaginative water games at several pools.
The children’s pool offers so many more possibilities than just being there for washing. The children spend a lot of time here exploring the element of water and splashing around extensively. It is generously designed and gives the children a lot of creative freedom to play and try things out.
Zone 3 (creative wilderness): In the garden of the daycare center, nature is wild, unruly and wants to be shaped. On the 400 square meters of outdoor play area of the daycare center, the children can immerse themselves in a wild world of play. The lines on the ground from the interior find their continuation in the outdoor space, where they define the boundaries of beds and sandboxes. A network of dynamic surfaces, paths and niches is formed.
The outdoor space offers a variety of opportunities to let off steam, but also to retreat. The design takes into account the different needs of children at their various ages and stages of development. Uneven surfaces and obstacles turn the various floor coverings into challenges for the youngest children. In the process, the first motor skills are trained.