Kindergarten, Sunce Retkovec, Zagreb
The plot on which the kindergarten is to be constructed is located in a neighborhood of family homes at the intersection of two highways, and between intensively used pedestrian areas on two sides; a quiet side street to the east and an area with planned construction of mixed use (mainly residential) in the north. The kindergarten building is placed on the far part of the plot, between the eastern and western limits of construction, with the access service road for the kindergarten to the east and green belt to the west. Such a setup for the building frees up most of the protected part of the plot for playgrounds (north), a buffer of low and high vegetation westward to the fast road, and the favorable southern orientation fathoms deep covered terraces of the common rooms that are separated from the impact of fast roads by tall trees and the basement courtyard (minimum distance of 20m).
The house consists of two rectangular volumes of simple and clear internal schemes, mutually separated/connected by a split/bridges with the main function of a light well. The placement of the building on the plot implies new ways in which the program of a kindergarten uses a specific location. Its functional structure articulates the entire assigned space so that the inner and outer parts of the kindergarten overflow one into another and have equal importance to the “residents” who live in and use this area.
The building functions in an open, “ambiguous” floor plan that uses both northern and southern sides of the lot: the focus being the common rooms. On the south, they use covered terraces as an extension of their protected world, a controlled contact from a safe distance (20 m from the road) with the outside world. To the north they are connected through the multipurpose hall – as a buffer zone – to the introverted part of the surrounding greenery and playgrounds on the open. The terraces are enclosed and roofed and are used as protected open-air extensions of the common rooms. Common rooms are connected by wardrobes and bathroom facilities to the multipurpose hall and terraces to the south. Thus the requirement of passing through sanitation facilities when passing from common areas to single units has been met. The building creates new relationships with the area surrounding it: it is clearly related to the continuity of the street and creates a protected inner part of the plot.
/ author with Vanja Biščanić and Zorana Protić, competition award, 2005. /