Children’s house at the duck creek 2017
Lauterach | Austria

Big See Architecture Award 2018

Task: New construction of a 3-group kindergarten with the possibility of extension
Client: Municipality of Lauterach
Architecture: Bernardo Bader Architekten

Photos: Adolf Bereuter

Team: Thomas Prattes (PL) Josef Mallaun (PL)
Site management: Thomas Marte
Structural engineer Merz Kley Partner
Colour concept: Monika Heiss
Floor space: 960 m²
Structure: woodelement structure
Energy conzept: Passive house standard
sustainable building in the community
Municipal building permit

Building for children

Lauterach is one of the most rapidly growing municipalities in Vorarlberg. The existing kindergarten complex bordering the natural reserve of Lauteracher Ried is to serve for a few more years due to economic reasons. The concept and the new placement are to not interfere with future development. Following the building line of the existing structure, the complex was extended by a 65-meter-long and 20-meter-wide timber wing. The building reveals four sections that are subdivided by low-lying recesses. While the largest section facing the old structure houses communal areas such as the cafeteria, the library and a multi-purpose exercise room, the other three each accommodate one group. Each of the buildings is accessed via an entrance that is recessed into the facade of the west-facing lobby and play corridor and thus shielded from the elements. Separate entrances in the colors pink, blue and yellow denote the affiliation and facilitate a hassle-free and independent operation. Altogether 65 children aged 15 months to four years find a place full of diverse offerings to individually unfold their personality in the light-filled spaces of the clearly structured building. The galleries offer a place for retreating and the children first enter a loggia via sliding doors on the east side of the building that doubles as an outdoor place sheltered from wind and rain, before arriving in the garden. Short access corridors intersect with a central corridor which serves as a spacious movement area for all and extends along the entire length of the building. Instead of solid walls, the external spaces are separated by glass components from the central area. Shiny translucent walls separate the spaces acoustically, while connecting visually. Daylight enters deep into the building and outlines of the reflections of moving children can be seen through the glass. Receiving light from all directions, and with room heights of up to five meters, both group and communal areas evoke more the feel of studio spaces rather than conventional kindergarten groups. This impression is further underlined by terrazzo concrete, glass and softwoods.

A pavilion-like structure open to the in- and outside conjures up a diverse and unique setting for children. A setting with the potential of a place that meets the requirements of contemporary child education in a meaningful way.