Gone are the days when brick and mortar are the go-to building materials - and that's a good thing. Designers from h2o Architectes gave a small nursery in Paris a modern new extension with a folded fabric canopy that improves natural lighting and ventilation. The Epée de Bois wanted to extend its interior space with an addition that would unify the mixed styles of architecture that form a courtyard around the existing building. The contemporary structure adds a sunny new playroom capped by a gauzy stretched fabric to establish a sense of harmony with the adjacent buildings.
The new volume extends from the brick building like a transparent uneven box lined with glazed windows to deflect heat. In order to keep the children who attend nursery school there safe from direct sun rays, h2o designed a monochromatic exterior shade made from simple material. The gauzy fabric is stretched onto a folded metal framework that extends over entrances to create an awning that protects not only from sun, but from rain when entering or exiting the building.
Atop the glassy extension, the existing building was given a doorway on the second floor, which opens onto a glassed-in terrace on the roof overlooking the courtyard. The added terrace also joins a glass fenced play area outside on the ground floor, which is accessible through the new addition.
Below, h2o extended the basement, refinishing the lower level to include a lounge, coat room and kitchen, which are partially lit by “skylights” that were installed in the floor of the courtyard. The nursery school’s extension has a small footprint, but creates new spaces both inside and out for children and teachers to enjoy.