Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Colorful Kindergarten




At one point in my life, I was convinced I wanted to be a kindergarten teacher. Shocking, I know. However, thanks to my high school's internship program, I had the enlightening opportunity to student teach during my senior year and realized that pulling apart fist-fights and helping potty train 5 year-olds (yes, you heard that right) wasn't exactly the career path I'd dreamed of. Serious props to all the kindergarten teachers in the world. It's a tough job! Although in hindsight, it was nice to have a principal to send the misbehaving students to. Unfortunately that doesn't exist for out-of-line design clients. Not that I've had many, just one hot-headed developer comes to mind who yelled and threw materials at me when he hated them (dangerous when granite was involved). When I asked my boss how to handle it, she simply said, "Duck and make a new selection."

But I digress. When I came across this fun project, it took me right back to that kindergarten class I bonded with so many years ago and thought this was the perfect learning space for all those cute, inquisitive kids. This project is located in Ljubljana, Slovenia and was in response to the lack of adjacent playground facilities for the kids. To deal with that issue, the designers created a solution that placed planks of colored wood around the perimeter of the building that pivot and can be flipped from colored side to neutral.

I find it odd how the exterior of the school is so vibrant and fun and in the interior is so monochromatic and static. Granted, as a designer, I love the simplicity, but from what I know about kids, they need more visual stimulation indoors to help them learn. Hopefully the Slovenian teachers adorn their spaces with highly creative bulletin boards like ours do.

But back to the architecture, I love that this school allows the children to learn about colors and also lets them change the architecture of their school. One day it's beige, the next red stripes, and the next, a full rainbow of colors. How many of us got that opportunity as a child?

More photos and plans can be found here. All photos by Miran Kambič.