Concept : As the nursery is placed on a parcel without almost any constraint or restriction, just in the center of an industriel area, we wanted to take advantage of this absence of constraint. Thus, we have been able to freely design a metaphorical project.
Nurseries are sensitive buildings, particularly given that we entrust our children during their most fragile period, to the care of the nurses in these buildings. We wanted this building to be welcoming for children and comforting for parents. In order to optimize the security, we had the idea of a radial central organization. In other words, every children unit converges to the glass-walled central patio which provides several crossed views. From this central place, an adult can have a sight in almost all of the interior units. In order to establish a high level of security, we have choosed to protect the building with a perimeter wall instead of a simple wire mesh fence.
astly, the funnel-like shaped entrance vault, which is a vaginal metaphor, has been designed to provide a feeling of welcoming ans protection. It creates a penetration time while entering into the building, which is very important because we can not leave a child to the daycare as if we drop off a package to the post.
In order to design a building which would be suitable for a child’s scale, we have settled the ceilings to the lowest allowable height. The reference level in the building is fixed to 2,10 meters and this very low level is regularly pierced by wide zenithal openings at a height of 4,20 meters above the ground that provide natural lighting. This configuration rules out any effect of oppression.
Anecdote : We were one of the five contestant teams to make a proposal for this project. At the beginning, our project was eliminated because it was considered as doubtful. And then, the project manager organized an oral présentation for each project, which is very unusual in France. This gave us the opporunity to explain precisely the functionning of the project. Thanks to this presentation, we finally won the project. It has been a great pleasure for us to see that such serious people could choose such a free project.
Difficulties we faced : Too many difficulties! In this project the most significant difficulty was to get the contractors execute their work in a faithfully manner to our drawings. Furthermore, it was our very first project with this kind of forms. The challenge for us, and for the contractors as well, has been the experimental charactere of the building. As they did not have any other project of this kind to compare, many contractors had a hard time to manage deadlines and prices. This having been said, thanks to the good will of all participants, we have been able to successfully finish the construction and to deliver a building in accordance with the very first sketches.
Paul Le Quernec