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Kindergarten Kekec - Jure Kotnik - Slovenia
Jure Kotnik is a researching architect and editor and who lives and works between Ljubljana and Paris. He is an author of several architecture realisations that witnessed wide media attention such as Weekend house 2+, mobile Lighthouse for Paris port, Kekec Kindergarten or temporary Kindergarten Ajda. For his research in the field of Container architecture he was awarded with International Trimo research award in 2006 and with Preseren University Award for the establishing the container housing system called ConHouse. Kotnik also prepared and curated the first Container architecture exhibition, a traveling exhibition firstly presented in Ljubljana and Paris in 2010. From 2008 Kotnik writes for A10 magazine.He authored the bestselling monograph Container Architecture (Links, 2008) and continues to write for specialized magazines. For his work in the field of architectural theory Jure Kotnik was awarded with the Plečnik medal in 2009. In the past three years he has specialized in kindergarten architecture and has designed several contemporary kindergartens in Slovenia. From 2011 he works as an architectural consultant for the World Bank and Council of Erupe Development Bank (CEB) in the field of (optimised) preschool facility design. In autumn 2012 he was appointed visiting professor at Ecole Speciale d’Architecture in Paris. In April 2014 he was promoted to PhD at University of Ljubljana with the thesis of hybrid methodology in architectural design.
Kindergarten Kekec is an extension of a typical Slovene prefab kindergarten from the 1980s. Situated in one of Ljubljana's residential areas, Kekec answers the growing demand for kindergartens. This comes as a result of Ljubljana having witnessed considerable population growth as well as legislative changes and a planned increase in building density inside the highway ring surrounding the city.
The construction is made from prefabricated wood and was built in three days only. The main design concept derives from the existing kindergarten's lack of play equipment. The new façade solves this weakness by offering a play element along all three exterior walls. It consists of dark brown roughcast and timber slats revolving around their vertical axe. The slats are the colour of natural wood on one side but painted into nine different bright colours on the other side. Aside from serving as a shading element, the toy slats provide for children's play and learning: as the children manipulate the colourful wooden planks they get to know different colours, experience wood as a natural material and constantly change the appearance of their kindergarten, all at the same time.
The new kindergarten annex is attached to the south side of the existing building and stretches into the garden, which has enlarged the volume by an additional 130m2 of playroom surfaces. Playrooms are compact but allow for the furniture to be arranged in various formations. Daylight floods the interior from three sides as well as the roof. Located between the two playrooms, washrooms have large glass openings, which visually increase their volume as well as ease tutor supervision. Wardrobes in the narrow cloakroom are made from pure natural wood. Wardrobes in the narrow changing room are made from pure natural wood and have pull-out boxes for shoes in all the colours of the façade, which function as a space saver, since they also serve as a bench.