Metallic Skin: Day Care Centre in Essen
"Miniapolis" is a day care centre located on the premises of ThyssenKrupp AG that opened in August 2012. The structure is encased in a perforated stainless steel façade. The facility, which operates on the principles of the Reggio Emilia approach, offers space for six mixed-age groups and is intended for about 100 children from the age of 4 months to school starting age.
Architects: JSWD Architekten, Cologne, Chaix & Morel et Associés, Paris
Location: ThyssenKrupp Allee 1, D-45143 Essen
Following the design principle of the ThyssenKrupp Quarter, the day care centre is a clear geometrical construction. Ground floor recesses and upper floor loggias structure the façade areas.
The "rough shell" of the metallic envelope of the new building is formed by vertically oriented, corrugated stainless steel sheets. The outer contour of the building structure is clad with these perforated panels, which are arranged to create fluent transitions to their vertical and horizontal neighbours.
In contrast to the rugged outer skin of the building, the surfaces in the interior "warm core" are smooth and light. The fact that the day care centre operates on the basis of the special educational approach developed in the Italian Emilia Region influences the architecture and interior design significantly. A central idea of this educational philosophy is that the development of the enquiring minds of young children, their natural curiosity and joy of learning should be supported in a sensitive manner and in a variety of different ways. This is reflected by the broad space allocation programme of the new building.
The two-storey building has a square footprint with a side length of 32.50 m. A covered piazza located in the centre of the building is surrounded by a symmetrical arrangement of three group areas and one staff area. The inner courtyard is the place of joint actions – the meeting place. Six group rooms are accommodated on two storeys around this "village square". A library, a wood workshop and a studio are additional features. The spaces are intended to offer a sense of security, but also challenges. Platforms, galleries and many other interesting details encourage the children to discover the world with all their senses.
Client: ThyssenKrupp AG
User: BsE, DRK Landesverband Nordrhein (Non-profit welfare organisation for social care facilities, German Red Cross, North Rhine regional branch)
GFA: 2,100 m² Completion: August 2012
Façade construction: Lummel GmbH & Co KG, Karlstadt
Façade metal sheets: Fielitz GmbH, Ingolstadt
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