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Save The Children Foundation, elii, Foto: ImagenSubliminal (Miguel de Guzmán + Rocío Romero)

Architectural pet: children's centre in Madrid

The existing building is located right on Plaza Puerto Rubio in Vallecas – a district of Madrid in need of a contact point for socially disadvantaged children. In the course of the refurbishment work, the architects at elii preserved the fabric of the building in the front area facing onto the plaza, and replaced the rear part with a new service and circulation core. Their finishing stroke was to provide the five-floor building a dynamic roof storey where a tapered skylight permits views of the stars, as wished for by the children, while also serving cross-ventilation and forming a division between two terraces. The solution also enables implementation of a small greenhouse at a later point.

elii Architects provided the elevations a fresh, white skin that brings the Save The Children Foundation building up to date, both in visual and energy-efficiency terms. This has been achieved with a curtain façade construction that regulates the indoor climate by structural means, on the one hand in the form of a slight extension of the floor slabs, and on the other by means of shading elements onto which the Foundation's message is projected in the form of eye-catching letters. Moreover the concept envisages the incorporation of plants on the facade, a task envisaged for the children and thus involving a social aspect.

The interior spaces have also undergone a general overhaul. Collectively used zones have been placed in the existing part of the building and are oriented to the plaza, while the rear section is mainly used for circulation and functional organisation and thus has the effect of a supporting backbone infrastructure.  The interior design takes a functional urban approach, making use of wooden fibreboard panels, colourful floor coverings in bright hues, plain white surfaces and plants. All this is rounded off by a furnishing concept that incorporates movable elements to enable differing room constellations, thus reflecting the dynamic character of the children's centre.

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