Kindergarten Yellow Elephant in Suwałki

  • area / size 10,635 sqft
  • Completed 2018
  • Location Suwałki, Poland,
  • xystudio designed the Kindergarten Yellow Elephant with natural light and outdoor space for multi-functional play in Suwałki, Poland.

    The kindergarten in Suwałki is another company kindergarten and nursery for employees of Forte Furniture Factory, intended for 150 children.

    The location of the building on the Polish “Cold Pole” had a significant impact on its architecture. The kindergarten is located on the edge of the town, in a beautiful but windy meadow. Such an extensive plot made it possible to design a large one-story building. The sun determined the setting of the building on the plot and its functional layout.

    There is a nursery in the eastern wing, because younger children need good lighting in the morning for activities that take place before nap. In the afternoon, they are outside. The building was set up in such a way that in June-August it casts a shadow on the playground for children, which is located very close to the rooms.

    The kindergarten is located in the west wing. Older children do not sleep during the day, so the longer-lit rooms are a great advantage. From the kindergarten rooms you can see a garden with a small greenhouse, while the playground is located on the south side so as not to distract children during classes. Shade of the playground on hot days will be provided by planted trees that will begin to fulfill their role in a few years. Two external toilets for kids have been designed in the vicinity of the playground.

    Each room has a direct exit to the terrace. After opening the large windows, you can expose the tables to fresh air, thus increasing the space used by children. In summer, when the sun is high, the roofs protect the rooms from overheating. In winter, when the sun is low, they let warm rays into the rooms. In addition, all rooms are lit with skylights that let in diffused light, which makes the deeper parts of the room very bright and illuminated with natural light.

    The plan of the building was inscribed in the shape of the letter H. In this way, two patios were created: “entrance-public” and “garden-children”. The whole thing was surrounded by wooden terraces. Apart from the obvious protection against wind and sun, the terraces have become huge “doormats” and protect the interior from mud and sand.

    The “heart” of the building is a large multi-functional room with glazed patios and skylights. There are ladders, a wall of mirrors and swings in the room. On rainy days, it is the perfect covered indoor playground.

    The land development plan around the kindergarten is as important as the plan of the facility itself. The surroundings are complemented by the building and its continuation.

    The rest of the terrain consists of lawns and hills, which are natural play areas in winter and summer. On one of them there is a small windmill which supplies lighting to the area. An additional attraction for children is a spiral slide mounted on the front elevation, which is accessed by stairs accessible from the entrance patio.

    The building was adapted to the child’s scale. We have lowered the roofs, which means that the relatively high cubature does not overwhelm, and the children feel comfortable. The kindergarten, which looks relatively small from the outside, grows only inside, but you can feel it only when you enter each room.

    Design: xystudio
    Design Team: Filip Domaszczyński, Dorota Sibińska, Anna Prałat, Marta Komorowska
    Contractor: Gober Firma Budowlana
    Photography: courtesy of xystudio