A recently completed kindergarten in Poland is giving children a new way to reconnect with the outdoors and stellar views of the neighborhood. Designed by Polish architecture firm Biuro Toprojekt, the kindergarten in Żory boasts an accessible roof terrace planted with ornamental grasses with plenty of space to play and gather. In addition to encouraging play and appreciation of nature, the inspiring design of the building has also earned it a nomination for the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award 2019.
Located in the center of the Kleszczówka district in the Polish suburbs of Żory, the kindergarten stands in stark contrast to the surrounding single-family homes. “A small parcel of an irregular shape similar to a triangle intended for the construction of a pre-school segment at an existing school, imposed rather two-story solutions, although a little overwhelming, but leaving a little space for the playground,” the architects explained of the kindergarten’s triangular design. “Instead, we decided to have a one-story building with rounded corners, which filled almost all of the possible surface, and for the outdoor play, we designed a large roof terrace.”
Built with reinforced concrete walls wrapped in vertical strips of timber, the 1,060-square-meter kindergarten is protected against temperature fluctuations thanks to mineral wool insulation selected for low fire risk. The school is also equipped with a ground heat exchanger as well as heating and ventilation systems. A rectangular atrium at the heart of the kindergarten funnels daylight throughout the interior and offers a “piece of the outside world” where children can observe snow and rainfall.
Lined with wood and accessed via staircase from the atrium, the spacious roof terrace is punctuated with two circular islands of green space in the center. Curved metal railings wrap around the terrace, which is surrounded by gardens planted with ornamental grasses.
Photography by Juliusz Sokolowski via Biuro Toprojekt