The site is in the Gresivaudan valley, where the River Isère flows between the Belledonne and Chartreuse mountains. The property sits on the border of untouched and newly constructed land at the foot of the mountain, and new homes have recently popped up in the building’s immediate vicinity.
The site shares a border with a protected chateau and its gardens, which meant that the plans had to go through a special process. The building is designed for two groups of children aged 0-3 years, with additional facilities for children in home care, as well as a restaurant and its kitchen.
At the first design meeting, we presented a relatively closed series of rooms (having learned from a similar process in St Egrève), but the client requested an open layout. The idea is basically a large scale version of a one-storey home. The floor plan allows for relatively free passage from one part of the building to another, with the building opening up onto its surroundings.
Since the building is intended for very young children, the design focuses on their sense of the world and keeps things on their scale: the children have their own doors, which are appropriate for their small height. The nap room has an adjacent outdoor terrace where the children could also sleep, but this idea has not taken off in practice.
On the upper slope, the building rests on a reinforced concrete slab, but steel pillars on the lower slope give children room to play underneath. All other structures of the house are wood, as are all surfaces. The facade and parts of the interior are clad with chestnut shingles.
Unfortunately, the interior cladding did not pass the health inspector’s screening due to the fear that children might get their fingers caught between the shingles. Therefore, the shingles have been covered with wood panel to the height of 1.2 metres.
Another unexpected problem was the German wasps that found a home in the airspace behind the entire building facade’s cladding. Although we of course wish to promote biodiversity, this particular type of coexistence is a bit of a problem. The customer has suggested replacing the exterior cladding in its entirety.
Project in brief
Tencin daycare centre
- Location | Tencin, France
- Purpose | Daycare centre
- Constructor/Client | Gresivaudan municipalities
- Architectural Design | r2k-architecte
- Year completed | 2017
- Costs | 1 462 000€
- Photographs | Sandrine Rivière, Jussi Tiainen
- Text | Olavi Koponen