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.
Hyde & Seek Childcare Center in Dublin, Ireland by Urban Agency
August 2nd, 2015 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Urban Agency
The site, of triangular shape, is located at the junction of two busy roads within a predominantly residential area of red-brick terraced houses. The project is a childcare facility for 5 different age groups, varying from babies/toddlers (from age 3 months) to after daycare (up to age 12 years).
The awkward shape of the site, the adjacent traffic noise and the need for minimising windows at ground-floor level to prevent overlooking result from the site strategy. The building is placed at the centre of the site to create 3 gardens of various scale at its corners, serving as individualised amenities for the respective age group.
The creche is introverted at ground-floor level, opening into private landscaped courtyards; at first-floor level, windows are created to allow for distant views. The building is organised as a series of 4 small oval volumes that accommodate the various age groups, the administration and ancillaries.
A large circular roof caps and unifies the building overall, serving as a vast external playground at first-floor level and also providing a covered multipurpose space at ground-floor level, acting as entrance foyer, event space, dining hall, play area, etc.
The roof playground is designed with a full storey (3 meter) high parapet all around, punctuated with carefully placed windows serving as windscreens, while allowing for a future extension to the creche to be inserted without altering the elevations or appearance of the building. The building and the site boundary wall are finished with red terracotta concrete panels to maintain a visual and architectural dialogue with the surrounding red-brick buildings.
The scale of the building is deceptive. The fenestration and scale established by the horizontal red concrete strip increments and windows relate to the scale and height of the various occupiers rather than to those of the storey.
The ground-floor facade is organised in 3 horizontal strips at 1 meter intervals, with windows 1m and 2m high positioned at various heights so that babies/toddlers aged 0 to 3 years seated on the floor or crawling can see into the outside world. The 2m windows relate to the height of the Montessori, the after-school children and adults, as well as to the height of the entrance and patio doors.
The first-floor playground elevation follows the same rule but with 2 horizontal strips at 1.5m high intervals and windows of 1.5m and 1m height, also positioned to individualise the views of each age group.
The building, with its spatial organisation, composition, architectural expression and scale is a bespoke piece of architecture custom-made for its users. It is a peaceful urban oasis where children of all ages can learn, play, grow and develop as a collective and as individuals. One for all and all for one!
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