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njiric+ arhitekti – “Medo Brundo“ Kindergarten – Zagreb, Retkovec

njiric+   arhitekti – “Medo Brundo“ Kindergarten – Zagreb, Retkovec


njiric+   arhitekti : http://www.njiric.com/

How to design a kindergarten on a too small plot? What if the plot is overshadowed by a massive nine-story block on it’s south side? What if the plot is surrounded by the heavy traffic?

The kindergarten is initially concieved as a single-story mat building – compact, introverted, autocatalytic, with clearly defined borders.

Local suburban matrix is echoed in the repetitive small-scale structure of units and patios. This chequered board of solids and voids is bent into vertical plane – gardens become terraces, corridor transforms into staircase. The outline of the building is continuous and closed, except on the west side which is „stripped“ and treated like a glazed section to interact socially with a frequent neighbourhood path. An hommage to the american artist Dan Graham („An Alteration of the Suburban House“, 1978).

Such a layout offers a variety of open-air spaces – patios, covered (winter) terraces and a roof-top garden. There is a big playground in the non-buildable area on the back side of the house.

Interior is organized as a sequence of spaces linked with „The Children Street“. It’s meandering character and a multitude of in-between spaces, supported by the intensive transparency and colour coding, attempt to create a scenery of a true „urban“ experience for the child.

The children’ and staff premises are completely intertwined. This typological innovation mirrors a series of didactic relations. It is the major contribution of the project – the whole spatial setup is to be understood as a specific educational device. Walking down „The Children Street“ and seeing all the professions lined up left and right – like an everyday situation in the city. An introduction to the real life.


Architects: Hrvoje Njiric, Davor Busnja

Location: Ulica Dubrava 185, Retkovec, Zagreb, Croatia

Surface: 2300 m2

Year: 2008/ built

Structure:  G&F – Eugen Gajsak, Zagreb

Program: kindergarten for 250 children

Client/Contractor:  Grad Zagreb, Jelacic d.o.o.

Photography:  architect’s files, Domagoj Blazevic




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