Neckar-Odenwald County entrusted the local Ecker Architkten with the realisation of a new quickly and economical to built Kindergarten for children with physical or developmental handicaps.
Here is what the architects explain:
“Four repetitive modules form the building. Each of these units contains two group classrooms and a small therapy room. Large roof overhangs shade group rooms in the summer months and allow outdoor play on exterior terraces in poor weather.
The units are radially distributed about an atrium- the largest single space in the school. This flexible meeting room serves as a circulation zone, an indoor playing field, a communal dining hall, and the place where each child begins and ends his or her school day. The size of the atrium also permits joint group activities and celebrations, fulfilling a vital part of the school’s educational mission first thought beyond the budget of the project.”
“This center is naturally illuminated and ventilated by four prominent roof monitors – the so-called ‘jester’s cap’. Opening lower vents in the classroom façade and the window flaps mounted at the top each monitor naturally draws air through the entire building, providing cooling during warmer days or when the atrium is densely populated. The monitors form the visual identity of the kindergarten, which has a strong presence despite sprawling, commercial surroundings. The cladding of these elements in gold-anodized aluminum roofing creates an important point of pride for the children who are schooled here.”
“The entire building was executed in wood frame construction, with glue-laminated timber columns and beams. Connection reveals in the timbers, designed to accept aluminum curtain wall profiles, were milled with a CNC wood router in the carpenter’s shop to ensure precision on the construction site. The nearly identical building modules enabled factory production of large framed panels, resulting in an extremely economical and fast erection – the entire construction period for this building, from groundbreaking to ribbon-cutting, totaled 8 months. Exterior walls are clad with robust clapboards, and wood products play a dominant role in the interior build-out. The color concept reinforces the radial form of the building and assists in the spatial orientation of the young user group.”
Wood frame construction, supporting framework from construction-grade full-timber and glue-laminated timber.
Wall and ceiling insulation with blown-in Loose-fill dry cellulose.
Interior finishes: Visible glue-laminated beams and columns, general wall sufaces are built from OSB (oriented strand-board) and „Fermacell“ (a gypsum and wood-fiber drywalling)- painted. Rubber base at floors. Linoleum flooring is used throughout the building.
Custom built-in cabinetry from MDF with plastic laminate surfacing.
Solid-core doors with opalescent plastic laminate surfacing and solid wood edging.
Stainless steel door hardware – Jasper Morrison’s 1144 Series for FSB.
Custom childrens’ tables are built from solid oak surfaced with desk-top linoleum.
Hung ceilings (interior and exterior) are Heraklith, a Magnesite-cement and wood-fiber acoustic panel.
Exterior Finsihes: Wood Clapboards, painted; the protection of the laminated timber construction on the exterior is provided by Aluminium roof edging and window cladding. The ‘jester’s cap’ is clad with a standing-seam gold-anodized aluminum rain-screen.
The overhangs above every terrace provide the building with an ‚intelligent’ solar shading in the summer months and allow a ‚solar gain’ in the winter.
Ventilation flaps in the aluminium curtain wall façade allow a continuous, controlled stream of fresh air into the building. Excess warmth is ventilated through a ‘thermal chimney’ at the highest point of the building, the ‘jester’s cap’ above the atrium. Even during construction in the hot summer of 2006, the climatic concept produced a comfortable interior environment without the aid of mechanical cooling.
Client: Neckar-Odenwald County, represented by County Executive Dr. Achim Brötel
Architect and General Contractor: Ecker Architekten
Structural Engineering: Färber + Hollerbach
Environmental Enginnering: Ingenieurbüro Willhaug
Carpentry: Zimmerei Bechtold, Roigheim