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This children’s centre in Janzé is situated among an eclectic mix of civic buildings, with a design aimed at creating a fine-grained extension of the urban fabric. On a larger scale, the basic principle underlying the design is defined by the topography of the site and the history of the location, creating an indirect and subtle reference to a nearby listed church. Its outward appearance is compact and unobtrusive, with a refined material palette. The use of textured bricks rendered in grey tones reinforces the relationship between the new centre and its surroundings.
The building's dynamic architecture is characterised by the inner distribution of the activity areas. A major step of its creation was defining all the programmatic elements and their interconnections. When it comes to children’s centers, the degree of creativity and the potential for discovery offered to children of all ages, as well as the provision of a safe, interactive environment, are decisive to the design process.
The program is organized around a central two-storey courtyard. A primary school, two daycare facilities for infants, and all shared spaces are structured around the circulation, enabling fluid movement of the users throughout the building and organically connecting the different elements to one another. These are arranged in a way that forms a balanced interior, protected from the outside. The classrooms and their annexes are thus grouped together along an L-shaped floor plan, while the two-level courtyard encloses the plot in a U-shape, following the site’s topography. This secondary structural element comes from the existing topography, where the difference in altitude is seen as an advantage, allowing for a more sculptural approach, thus creating a beautiful urban perspective.
In addition, the primary focus of the design is to bring natural light in. Large openings and windows punctuate the two facades, providing views out onto the exterior. From the outside, they act as playful frames capturing the life within the building.
Thresholds slip in, carved into the geometry, to form the entrances of the building, giving the overall structure a unified form. The use of enamelled bricks accentuates the building’s homogeneous envelope, and through their rich texture, creates an interplay between material and sunlight. The absence of superfluous relief on the roof makes the main masses of the composition easily readable, following the building’s uniform design language.