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Baking brains: Family crèche in Strasbourg by Flour Architects,

elevation from corner

A wonderful thing about talking with young children is their ability to mix-up pictures, words and meaning to conjure up new ideas that adults could seldom conceive. A sparkling child helping to bake once explained to me how she was; 'making a beautiful watch to tell the time with plenty of butter and lots of cheese'. It tasted good when baked, but it did not tell the time as accurately as she had hoped! So what does society do to children that often causes them to loose this creativity in adulthood? As a metaphor for the process of education, this crèche might suggest a penetrating insight.

From the exterior, the building by Flour Architects, looks exciting and like it could be a watch made with lots of butter and plenty of cheese. An eye-catching grid pattern of larch struts gives enough visual interest to arrest anybody's attention from the street. This screen also provides some solar shading to the glazing as well as casting interesting shadows. The architect apparently sees it as a shell or cocoon to suggest a protective environment. As we progress around the building, the dynamic looking grid becomes a simple timber rain-screen cladding which in turn gives way to an insulated rendered box. An apparently random pattern of coloured windows visually spices the plain render wall like a sprinkle of coloured baking candy. The interiors are bright and airy, and will be a pleasure to work in. They also appear functional and fun. Here and there, are flashes of wit such as lovely patches of coloured light cast onto floors from the coloured glass windows.

After this tasting I suggest, its not a watch made from butter and cheese, but more of a cupcake with a dab of icing.

street elevation

entrance view

rear view

from the roof

fiew from roof

corridor view


another classroom


facade detail

site plan

ground plan


first floor plan



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