Children's Playschool, Amsterdam
Honorable Mention at the International Competition ARCHmedium ACP
Fundamental questions the contemporary kindergarten and reconsiders its relationship with the city. Fundamental claims a single and elementary position to highlight the very foundations of architecture, location and education.
As a location for events, a water playground, a desert favorable for sport practice, Stichting Het Stenen Hoofd already enjoys a strong identity for local inhabitants.
The setting up of a «kindergarten» on this peninsula in transition should allow to enhance the already established uses and play the role of an additional piece in the sequence generated by the Westerdok canal which is peripheral to the city centre.
With the program’s linear unfolding to the north, Fundamental aims to preserve the free characteristics that the site has today.
Moreover, the ambition is to provide a continuous and maximum interface with its environment so that the building fully plays its role of active process in its new territory.
The tripartite composition of the plan leads to varying degrees of relationship between internal spatialities and external environment.
On the one hand, children will formally learn in the different classrooms about life premises, with water as a backdrop. On the other hand, the distributive interface between them and the external space allows a necessary detachment as well as its related informal activities.
As an abstract materialization of practical and technical requirements linked to both areas, a double skin would take shape between these two entities and bring together entry systems to the classrooms, furniture, vertical circulation, sanitary arrangements or small vegetable gardening to contribute to children’s food education.
The diversified relationship between school and public space materializes through a series of specificities or expansions as the docks of Amsterdam, and beloved of Aldo van Eyck’s theories. Playgrounds, stands and sports facilities are plenty of opportunities to generate sociability events in cohesion with the various users and functions of the place. Thus, the site would be open, flexible and permeable with its architecture.
Finally, the open-air spaces are an opportunity for children to build diversified relationships with the outside world : the patios and courtyard which are directly connected to the classrooms suggest an education that would go beyond the usual limits of the confined space and offer rich relationships between water, earth and sky.