With their beautiful House of the Early Childhood (Maison de la Petite Enfance), Topos Architecture has once again proved that they're a leader when it comes to creating environmentally conscious education centers. Located in Mayenne, France, the building combines the welcoming energy of a home environment with the vibrancy of a learning-centric kindergarten. And to encourage healthy living within that educational environment, the project is as energy-efficient as it is kid-friendly.
The humble, welcoming House of the Early Childhood provides preschool education for 100 children up to the age of five as well as nursery space. The 1,300 square meter structure is designed to provide a comfortable and inviting environment for children and their families. The project is broken up into three zones meant to organize the various purposes of the interior space. The reception area, staff rooms and storage space are in the front, classrooms and activity spaces are in the back, and four open patios and a large 800-square-meter garden provide communal outdoor areas.
The feature that makes this school feel like a house is the Douglas fir cladding that covers the entire building. According to the architects, this material was key in creating the welcoming “home” look of the building: “The use of a wood facade gives a unity and a natural tone to the whole building.” Many subtle architectural features add to the project’s warmth – including the double sloped roof and strategic window placement for optimal natural lighting.
The building’s energy efficiency is every bit as impressive as its physical appearance – the House of the Early Childhood received Certivéa certification for high energy performance.
Photography by Jérôme Blin of Collectif Bellavieza