Kindergarten – Towill Design Group
This Early Learning Centre was designed around the Reggio Emilia Approach, as such many of the design features were used as stimulus for the design of the Lone Pine Early Learning Kinder.
– Environment as the third teacher
– A variety of heightened spaces forms, light, colours & textures
– Interior spaces are flexible in their design for area of play, learning & social interaction
– Interiors have a direct relationship with the natural environment – allowing children to learn from & interact with nature
– Walls are used to document childrens words, photos & drawings
– A diverse natural landscape providing a variety of distinct sensory landscape qualities
– Low energy light fittings & appliances
The overriding ideas of the Reggio Emilia Approach that were applied to Kinder are:
– The choice in built materials inside & outside the classroom
– The shape of the building form, that is centred around the piazza that is the hive of activity & every activity conducted by the children throughout the site is seen from the location.
– The atelier is located in each classroom, however after discussing with the Early Learning students it became apparent that each age group are interested in different types of art styles/production. These different forms of art are a result of the needs of the children within that age group and the wants of the teacher, so by giving the teacher freedom to use any material that the children would like in any area of the room. This allowed for a flexibility of spaces to suit the changing day to day needs of the class within each room.
– The notion of journey & discovery is shown through many aspects of the outdoor learning playspace. Such as the oval/hill/slide/tunnel, sandpit, dry creek bed and also the journey to the Koala Enclosure. The Koala enclosure was placed outside the main playspace as it creates a sense of journey/occasion to travel to view the Koala’s (reducing the level of complacency of the children). It is also an introduction to the park before entering the park, when travelling from the Lone Pine CityCat Stop. This Koala Sanctuary is placed away from traffic, so that the Koala’s feel amongst nature and are not stressed. By placing the enclosure in this location it also minimises the level of distraction experienced by the children from the strong smells of the male Koala’s that would be placed within the enclosure.
Other Forms of Childrens Gardening Experiences & Outoor Elements
Aquaponics combines conventional aquaculture, with hydroponics in a symbiotic environment. In aquaculture, effluents accumulate in the water, increasing the toxicity for the fish. This water is led to a hydroponic system where the by products from the aquacutlure are broken down by nitrogen fixing bacteria, then filtered out by the plants as nutrients, after which the cleaned water is recirculated back to the animals.
An Aquaponic structure consists of several components:
– Rearing tank
– Settling basin
– Hydroponics subsystem
Plants are grown as in hydroponics systems, with their roots immersed in the nutrient rich effluent water. This enables them to filter out the ammonia that is toxic to the aquatic animals, or its metabolics.
Plants that grow well in this environment are:
– Most green leaf vegetables
– Sweet Potatoes
The fishes that work best in this system are:
– Silver Perch
– Murray Cod
Permaculture is organisation of spaces and vegetation in relation to the level of ongoing human maitenance and interaction. Permaculture focuses on three key aspects:
Care of the earth
Care of the people
Return of the surplus
These key principles are interesting learning tool to help the children of the Lone Pine Kinder Early Learning Centre to learn about sustainability and their surrounding environment in a supervised environment. By allowing the children to be involved in the growing, harvesting and cooking of the plants on the site, it gives the child a sense of ownership that can be utilised later in life in relation to their view on the environment.
The 12 design princinples of Permaculture:
1. Observe & Interact
2. Catch & Store Energy
3. Obtain a Yield
4. Apply Self Regulation & Accept Feedback
5. Use & Value Renewable Resources & Services
6. Produce no waste
7. Design from Patterns to Details
8. Integrate rather than Segregate
9. Use Small & Slow Solutions
10.Use & Value Diversity
11. Use Edges & Value the Marginal
12. Creatively Use & Respond to Change
Permaculture also relates to the construction of the central house/building. The orientation of a building, the utilization of local climate and site conditions, the emphasis on natural ventilation through design fundamentally lessen operational costs and positively impact the environment. Building compactly and minimsing the ecological footprint is common.
The concept of Environment as the 3rd Teacher is seen through many aspects of the design.
By utilising the notion of the fallen leaf litter from the Eucalypts that surround the Kinder, this in conjunction with light play through a thin leaf, led to the shape of the shade structures throughout the site. These leaves are also used to link the different built elements within the Kinder, and are a source of visual cues used as wayfinding devices by the children in the Kinder.
At the site, I noticed a fallen tree, I asked a caretaker and was told that because the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary was a sanctuary the footpaths would be redirected around the tree. Eventually the tree would be removed and the timber would be reused for other things within the park e.g. garden edging. This notion of sanctuary and reuse was a key idea throughout the design.
All trees that were needed to be moved for the remodelling of the carpark, were transplanted into the vegetative area at the entry of the Kinder to create a sense of journey, wonder and also create a noise buffer.
The land that was removed to flatten the area for the Kinder & the playspaces was reused into the external Rammed Earth wall, this wall also provided thermal loading. The external fence is comprised of timber branches, with a grass grown over the top, this reinforces the notion of reuse and sustainability through the building materials.
Each room within the Kinder utilises Passive Cooling methods through glass louvres in the ceiling, to release hot air and introduce cool air without disturbing the Learning Spaces. As Brisbane is a warm climate, there is a mechanical shade screen that can be operated during the peak heat times of midday. The amount of times that this would need to be used in all area’s are minimal as a result of the treatment of the glass, the wooden timber beams in the roof and the amount of surrounding vegetation.
By introducing the children to different forms of the process of food production, this can be a learning activity that can help to shape their future view on food & sustainability. By utilising aquaponics, this creates a raised sheltered vegetable patch directly in sight of the kitchen & display kitchen (linking the experience of cooking with growth). The children are also visually attracted to the notion of fish & these fish can be seen as class pets.
While there are a number of different plants that are successful grown from seed, there are also a number of plants that are successful in the scenario of aquaponics that are grown from scraps, that will be grown in this vegetable patch.
– Spring Onions
– Bok Choy
How has the inclusion of real clients, sites, and project briefs affected your design process in DAB710? How has this influenced the final outcome of your architectural design?
By using real clients, this has constantly challenged the design process. No longer was this design, created without considering real world ideas such as budgets, introduction of new materials, reuse of old materials.
Also the need for children spaces to comply with building codes, and a specific learning approach challenged any preconceived notions of what is required in an early learning space and what kids find fun.
This can be seen from through the feedback that was given by Early Childhood Learning Students in terms of the outdoor spaces in the design of the Lone Pine Kinder Early Learning Centre.