As anyone who has observed a child for more than 2 minutes know, the movements and activities of children are quite different from those of adults. Good children’s architecture provides ample opportunities for running, climbing, crawling and jumping.
– We try to include multifunctional elements in all our designs. For example, a round washbasin in the toilets that the children can run around, mattress storage that function as climbing platforms and hiding places and hidden crawlspaces under stairs and through walls. Especially in inner cities like Berlin, where outside space is limited, it is important to encourage movement regardless of the weather and access to outdoor play areas, says Nathalie Dziobek-Bepler.
Reshaping buildings for children
In many cases, designing a day care facility does not begin on a blank canvas, but rather by transforming an existing building.
– We have a future of conversion and reconstruction in front of us. The resource consumption of our construction industry and the imperative reduction of grey energy will place the conversion before demolition and new construction. This thinking is only just beginning, but if we take the social and energy issues seriously, it is the logical consequence, says Jens Ludloff.
Nathalie Dziobek-Bepler estimates that 70 percent of Baukind’s work is done with existing buildings, and they use elements such as colors, room dividers and acoustic panels to adapt the building to the children.
– We work a lot with colors and shapes to provide the children with a group identity and help them find their own area. For example, by giving each group a distinct animal and mono color, and then using the colors of all groups in the common areas. We always put a lot of emphasis on acoustics, since it is very important for the wellbeing, even if you don’t notice it consciously. This is mainly done with acoustic ceiling panels, although we sometimes use panels on the walls as well, especially in older Berlin buildings, where ceiling height can be an issue, says Nathalie Dziobek-Bepler.