A new nursery on the sprawling Philipps University in Marberg, Germany stands out amidst the tree-planted landscape with an iconic saw-tooth shaped roof. Designed by Opus Architekten, the zig-zag roofed building is met with mirrored windows that reflect the greenery of the area. The modern building creates space for 50 children in the daycare center, without disrupting the look of the wooded campus.
The grounds of Philipps University have been in use since 1527, acting as a research center for psychiatric reform. As the years have passed, the historic buildings on the property were both preserved or razed to make room for more modern structures to satisfy the needs of employees, residents and students. The plan for Nursery + E was to create an unconventional structure that challenged modern architecture, while also harmonizing with the landscape.
In order to meet both requirements, Opus decided to mix modern geometric lines with glass materials that would act as a mirror to the forested area. The chosen site occupies a small hill, which the nursery nestles into. The main entryway meets the top of the hill, and the second lower floor sits at the bottom, using the hill as natural insulation. The wooden roof was built in a corrugated pattern, which has a load bearing effect, but also allows solar panels on the roof to catch the sun at varying times of the day. The building’s envelope is clad in reflective glazed windows, which provide natural lighting inside, and reflect the green forest outside. Inexpensive timber and plywood make up much of the flexible space inside, where five separate groups of children may gather during the day.
The unique roof of the Nursery + E makes it a recognizable landmark on the Philipps campus, and a modern addition to the historic grounds.