The elliptical St. Sebastian Church in Münster, Germany got a new lease on life when it was recently transformed into a unique kindergarten. Designed by BOLLES+WILSON, the amazing adaptive-reuse project turned the religious building into a functional and engaging space for young children. Classrooms occupy the lower floors, while the top is used as an indoor/outdoor play space lit from above with skylights and ventilated with small operable windows.
BOLLES+WILSON took first place in a 2009 competition to come up with a creative and engaging transformation of the St. Sebastian Church into kindergarten. Their plan to transform the 1962 church was based on using the existing elliptical form, and the firm sought to capitalize on the window-punctured facade. The lower levels hold a kindergarten with three group rooms on the ground floor and two groups on the first floor. The roofs of these floors then become all-weather playdecks covered in sports field flooring. This space is neither heated nor cooled and remains a protected space for kids to play.
Original 50 x 50 cm openings in the facade were transformed into operable windows that allow natural ventilation. The original roof of the deconsecrated church had to be replaced anyways, so the new roof incorporates large skylights to pull daylight into the play space below. Access to the kindergarten is achieved via a new ground floor volume that holds a parent’s waiting area, kitchen, offices, a multipurpose room and a technical room. Surrounding the church turned kindergarten is an outdoor play area.
Images © S. Ahlbrand-Dornseif/R. Wakonigg, Ch. Richters, M. Hauschild