The building aims to be a model as concerns the dialogue between Pedagogy and Architecture: the project guidelines are based on the principles of the most advanced pedagogical approach for children 0-6, known worldwide as the “Reggio Emilia Approach”; the project has been developed in teamwork with teachers, pedagogistas, designers to share values, goals and solutions, from the very beginning of the process.
The Nido Scuola ENI hosts an infant toddler center and a preschool for 163 children aged six months to six years, a company nursery for the italian multinational oil and gas ENI, but open to the local citizens’ children. It is organized around a spine of squares, three piazzas that eliminate the corridors and allow spaces for the participation of the families, for alternative play, for lunch. Classrooms facing the piazza are differentiated according to age groups thanks to the PLAY+ furniture, a range developed in collaboration with Reggio Children that becomes a didactic tool.
Three ateliers and five mini-ateliers distributed in the building host special activities for the children of all ages, related to arts and new technologies. An on-site kitchen provide organic food and support a food atelier. The main atelier offers lab programs also for users outside the school, open to the city. Reggio Children, after the collaboration in the design process, is supervising the management and the professional development of teachers.
The roof is a second ground floor, accessibile to children use (stairs and elevators from inside and outside) for outdoor art, playing, food with the purpose to save green landscape.
A vast range of different materials, surfaces and textures, lighting fixtures with diverse light sources and non-primary but varied colors, aims to create a poly-sensorial environment. The goal is to create spaces that can be perceived and used by all five senses, respecting children’s cognitive processes which are characterized by a strong synaesthesia.
The school is placed in a public park; the exterior image and finishings are conceived to make the building melting in the nature, in a sort of delicate camouflage: patterns, colors, materials and gazebos are meant to immerse the school in the trees; only the coloured light lantern cubes should be visible among the leaves from distance.
The project was asked to be green, because sustainability is a pedagogical value and because it must be a landmark building for a company dealing with energy. The coloured solids are covered with photovoltaic cells that produce more energy than consumed, warm and cold fluid for heating and refrigeration come from a co-generation remote unit, ventilation and cooling are mainly natural, rain waters are recycled and flow in the water-bearing stratum, insulation is massive and passive elements for filtering the sun rays are all round the building – including the sliding bris-soleil on the facades. The building is certified Energy Class A – that is the maximum level in Italy.