njiric+ arhitekti – “Medo Brundoai??? 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 ai??zstrippedai??? and treated like a glazed section to interact socially with a frequent neighbourhood path. An hommage to the american artist Dan Graham (ai??zAn Alteration of the Suburban Houseai???, 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 ai??zThe Children Streetai???. 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 ai??zurbanai??? 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 ai??zThe Children Streetai??? 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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