The idea behind the design of the kindergarten was to give the architecture the iconographic form of a house, thus creating a friendly and familiar environment for children. The façade’s prominent windows of varying sizes and staggered arrangement are reminiscent of an oversized child's drawing.
The architects' aim was not to build the children a second home rather than an educational institution. For example, floors and furniture were made of oiled solid wood and fabric covers of cotton. The materiality and feel should be more evocative of a residential building than a public building. This concept should also be reflected in the lighting. Ideally, optimum lighting for the play and learning areas is provided, while creating a homely, comfortable, and familiar lighting atmosphere. The entire lighting was designed to be dimmable to adapt to changing didactic needs.
Planning appropriately for children requires a proper scale. The furniture and individual components were adapted to the size of a child. For example, the stairs in the kindergarten have a 12cm step height rather than the standard 17cm. Although this feels somewhat odd for adults, it is much more comfortable for children.
Due to the timber construction method, all solid timber walls and ceiling elements were already defined in detail during the planning stage with millings and drillings for the lines to be installed later for ventilation, heating, power distribution, light points, etc. This required exact planning. The planning phase was, therefore, more time-consuming, but the construction time was much shorter.
Of course, children need optimal light when playing, painting, doing handicrafts, and looking at books. Therefore, in addition to natural light, one of the main focuses of the design was artificial light. “XAL’s MINO and VELA luminaires best matched our lighting and energy concept and our architecture. We architects are delighted with the result. Of greater importance to us, however, is that the users - the children - enjoy the house and feel comfortable in it,” said architect Roland Baldi.
The trend is certainly moving away from the classic, rigid classroom towards flexible structures with smooth transitions between different areas and between inside and outside; schools free from structural and functional hierarchies. Architects and lighting designers need to take this into account with variable, changeable concepts.
Roland Baldi Architects of Bolzano works mainly in structural and urban planning but also covers interior architecture, green planning, exterior design, and general design. The projects mostly spring from won competitions and range from industrial and residential buildings, urban development and infrastructure projects, buildings for the education sector to various studies and furniture designs. Their architecture is defined by a few, but deliberately used materials and colours, and clear line management. Their most significant projects include the Rosenbach Master Plan Zone (ex-Mignone barracks) in Bolzano, the Syncom industrial park in Bressanone, the university building in Brunico, the Klausen district heating plant, the Merano 2000 mountain railway, and the TechnoAlpin headquarters in Bolzano.