Obfelden ZH, Switzerland
Competition 2015, Project 2016,
Project Outline Melk Nigg Architects
The community of Obfelden, surrounded by fields, meadows and woodlands, lies in the south of the Canton of Zurich. At the heart of the village, between the church and a stream, a dilapidated provisional kindergarten dating from 1973 needed to be replaced.
Concept Created for Children
The new, free-standing building is centrally aligned with the existing plateau and flanked on all sides by playing fields. Using self-built models, the design process was inspired by a playful exploration of the forms, silhouettes and spatial structures, while at the same time being rooted in the narrow formal tenets of such classical Renaissance architecture as Andrea Palladio’s Villa Rotunda. This resulted in the initial typological footprint of a Greek cross with added square areas.
Making the four elements of nature accessible to a child, while at the same time providing a protective refuge, was the underlying idea for the large spanned roof, beneath which the individual teaching rooms are perceived as spacious niches linked by pathways, corridors and play areas. In the middle of the building, a central space opens up over both levels, flooding the interior with natural light and placing a focus on the spiral staircase that leads to the upper level.
On the way to the kindergarten, the children walk along the playing field, past a huge rainwater gargoyle, down some steps and into the shelter of the overhanging roof, before reaching the cloakroom. There are many areas conducive to learning and playing: on the ground floor, on the gallery of the two-storey interior, on the roofed veranda or in the garden. The building allows each child to take in his or her surroundings with all their senses so that they experience it not only through smell, sound and touch, but also through dimensions, proportions and perspectives.
The building is constructed of Swiss timber and finished in spruce, larch and ash.
The 950m2 greened roof has gutterings that sweep out so that rainwater splashes gently into the garden. There are trees and shrubs all around the building, interspersed with play areas, fire pits and willow huts.