Hestia Childcare Centre

A small city

At Childcare Centre Hestia, children can go on a journey of discovery and continuously discover new places. This suits the pedagogical approach of the centre: Hestia approaches children from the idea that knowledge and skills are already present and that these are developed by playing. The centre is constructed as a collection of spaces that are all connected to each other. The diversity and variety of the spaces encourage children to discover talents and stimulate curiosity.
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Bart Reuser, Marijn Schenk, Michel Schreinemachers, Claudia Linders, Joost Lemmens, Emanuelle Faustle, Pieter Mulder, Filipe Pocas, Daniel Aw, Marieke Spits

Bureau Claudia Linders

BNA Building of the Year Award 2012 / Honourable mention
Arie Keppler Prize 2014 / Nomination
Yearbook Dutch Architecture 2012 / Featured

Jeroen Musch

Exploring spatial concepts

This pedagogical approach includes a number of explicit statements about architecture, which have been translated into a spatial concept for the new building. Malaguzzi’s working method is based on three divisions, in which the main focus is on the space in which children are active: the playground, the room, and the garden.

In the layout and furnishing of the various spaces according to this approach, the following principles are taken into account: the architecture (children can see the outside world from every room at their own eye level), the use of colour (of the furniture, walls, and objects), the materials, the incidence of light (different types of lighting are used), and the layout (quiet workplaces, studios, exercise space). The layout of the rooms is thoughtful; by placing various elements, such as a large number of mirrors and coat racks, which give a clear and calming character. There is also a lot of emphasis on the work of the children themselves, which is displayed everywhere at eye level for children with text and explanations.

Connecting Education and Architecture

Children’s Center Hestia is a collection of different spaces, where children can go on a journey to discover and explore new places in the building. Just like in a real city, all spaces are connected to each other and the children can move between large and small, high and low, and open and closed rooms. The flexibility of the different spaces offers children a new perspective on their environment and stimulates creativity. This encourages children to come up with new ideas and explore new possibilities. Because the knowledge that is acquired is in line with the child’s perception of the world, the student feels more motivated to continue on developing.

Creating an inspiring learning environment

The hull of the building contains all the necessary functions, such as the sanitary facilities, the storage room, and the sleeping quarters. Within this framework, the different spaces are given structure by fitting into a grid. Due to the subtle use of height differences between the spaces, different scales can be experienced. In the central space, the large scale is experienced by the divisions of the group areas, a smaller scale by the height, and an even smaller scale by the sheltered areas. Large glass walls provide plenty of daylight and the transparency at the child’s eye level gives a sense of spatial continuity.

The grid is not only limited to the layout of the building but is continued in the design for the outdoor space. This is enhanced by approaching indoor and outdoor spaces in an equal way and making them an integral part of the ensemble. The rooms can be decorated with different surfacing and plantings. The outdoor feeling extends into the building because various rooms are furnished as outdoor spaces. Inside and outside flow smoothly into each other to give free rein to the curiosity of the child. The seamless overflow of indoor and outdoor spaces contributes to the experience of a city.

Large glass walls provide plenty of daylight. The transparency at the child’s eye level gives a sense of continuity of the spaces. The outdoor spaces are also part of the city. This is enhanced by approaching indoor and outdoor spaces in an equal way and making them an integral part of the ensemble. Inside and outside flow smoothly into each other to give free rein to the curiosity of the child.

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