Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
CHILDCARE FACILITIES in BOULAY & PIBLANGE, Moselle, France by Paul Le Quernec
November 30th, 2013 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Paul Le Quernec
Our client, “La communauté de communes du Pays Boulageois” launched an architectural competition in January 2010 in order to buildsimultaneously two childcare facilities: one of them in Boulay, for a gross floor area of 1000 m2 and the other one, fifteen kilometers further, in Piblange for a gross floor area of 350 m2.
Despite the size difference between the two buildings, they both benefit from an open parcel and an urban context that imposes very few planning restrictions. We have thus chosen to explore this great contextual freedom and we have been therefore able to design these buildings by focusing on optimal functionality, safety and comfort, regardless of their size.
We have organized the interior of the building around a highly protected circular central space. Children’s spaces gravitate and converge around this centre. Crossed views between each part of the building, are centrifugal and centripetal. The surveillance and the security are thus at the maximum level. At the very center of the building, the circus tent-like wooden structure ends with a 3 meters wide vaulted ceiling made of polycarbonate, which ensures that the daylight may be provided during the entire day.
For the purpose of safety, the interior fittings have been designed in order to make all the right angles disappear and to offer smoothly curved walls. The sharp edges are also rounded off. The building is so characterized by this feature that even the external walls “undulate” around the internal spaces.
Cardinal points are also taken into account during the design process of the buildings. As you can see on the axonometric views, we have indeed put together all technical and administrative spaces on the north side of the building, while saving the south side for children’s spaces. And the exterior spaces are, of course, south-facing. In order to provide children with a playground protected from sun or rain, which they can use regardless of weather conditions, the roof of building extends to cover these spaces.
Another result of the centripetal organization is that, thanks to it, we do not need anymore hallways in these two buildings. Every children space is directly linked to central area. In addition to its aesthetic effect and ergonomic benefit, the real gain is related to space-saving. Thanks to this system, we have been able to save about 100 square meters, which gives a hallway ratio of 11 %. This benefit allowed us to design two buildings that respect BBC (Low Energy-Use Building) regulations without overrunning the provisional budget of our client.
Regarding the micro-nursery in Piblange, we have chosen to build on the flat part of the site, which is on the street side, so that the building would be south facing. Moreover, as the facility is at the entrance of the city, it plays a key role thanks to its dominant position and it requires particular attention for the façades’ design, like the child-care facility in Boulay.
The internal partition walls are made of double plasterboards, which are curved or straight. Perforated plasterboards cover the ceilings, improving overall acoustic comfort.
The project also includes an under-floor heating system, covered by linoleum. Internal ecological paints are solvent-free. In order to reach BBC (Low Energy-Use Building) energy performances, the doors and windows are made of wood.
TECHNICAL FEATURES AND ENERGY SAVING TECHNOLOGIES
We are aware that the calculations are pointless unless we actually deploy these systems, especially for the air-tightness of the building. That is why we have included to the construction process two blower door tests: the first one when the enclosure is completed, and the second one when the building is delivered to the client.
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