Like a fish in water
Paddling and splashing around, playing in the mud: children are always happy when their games involve water. When they were chosen to build the new Kneipp pre-school in the Upper Bavarian community of Walting, Fischer Rüdenauer Architekten were in their element too. They designed a complex that promotes and supports the healthy development of children on the basis of the five pillars of Sebastian Kneipp.
Community builds a pre-school. There's nothing unusual in that. However, the fact that this village in Upper Bavaria, Germany, with its 2,500 inhabitants, organised an international architecture competition for the new construction, rather than simply putting up a functional building in the middle of a field, is indeed extraordinary. But it is after all an unusual pre-school that the Catholic Church Foundation runs in Walting: as was the case with its predecessor, that has now been outgrown, the new Kneipp-Kinderhaus St. Johannes will be run according to the ideas of the Bavarian "pope of water", Sebastian Kneipp. Based on the five pillars of water, exercise, nutrition, plants and balance, the young children learn to take a responsible approach to their own health. Fischer Rüdenauer Architekten from Stuttgart won the competition with their design, which supports this intention, and they also won the hearts of the children and nursery teachers with the way they realised the project.
Without a container, water will simply trickle through your fingers. The team under Oliver Fischer and Arne Rüdenauer therefore created a framework for the pre-school – a self-confident ensemble of buildings encloses the inner courtyard and is surrounded by a slope. The "Kinderhaus" opens out onto a generously-sized forecourt. This borders directly on the bus stop, meaning that children can walk into the building on their own. It was in general very important to the planners to ensure that the site had good transport connections and that it would fit in well in regard to local urban development. The new building forms part of an educational campus together with the neighbouring school and a sports ground. The single-storey building also houses a creche for babies and toddlers, as well as a community hall and a multi-purpose room. The three striking cubes for the group rooms define the silhouette and can also be seen in the logo of the "Kinderhaus". Together with water, which is the defining element of the Kneipp concept – the water features in the courtyard, the wooden walkways and the play areas can be accessed from any part of the building and are all on ground floor level.
The building itself is defined by a second element: wood! This environmentally friendly raw material was used extensively, both in the interior of the building and in the outdoor areas. Coating with ADLER Lignovit Lasur in Naturgrau followed by ADLER Lignovit Platin in Pyritgrau gives the spruce facade a reserved, natural look. In the interior areas, the use of light-coloured wood creates a warm, feel-good atmosphere: the Lignotrend acoustic wall panels which are made of silver fir and treated with ADLER's Lignovit Interior UV 100, the Ladenburger acoustic ceilings, and the spruce and silver fir wall and door surfaces which were made by Schreinerei Klocker and have also been treated with Lignovit Interior UV 100 to protect them from darkening. Large windows with seating areas bring lots of light into the building, whilst also providing amazing views. To ensure that the oak that has been used remains completely natural in terms of look and feel, and yet is nevertheless well protected, Schreinerei Blüml impregnated the wood and aluminium window frames with ADLER Aquawood TIG HighRes and then varnished them with ADLER's Aquawood Natureffekt. Thanks to the robust materials with their attractive feel and the high energy performance standards of the building, the children never get splinters or cold feet, even when they are walking barefoot, which is something that Sebastian Kneipp valued and that is therefore encouraged at the pre-school. No wonder the children are really happy in their new "home".
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