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Kidney shaped building

Vivid yellow facade of the school

Exteriors by night

Vivid interiors of the school

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Showcase 31 Jul 2011

Tham & Videgård Arkitekter creates a unique design for Tellus Nursery School

Tham & Videgård Arkitekter design a nursery school based on 'Reggio Emilia' principles.

Architecture firm Tham & Videgård arkitekter has already built up its reputation in Sweden with eco-friendly private homes and public buildings. In Tellus Nursery School they had to work with the client and pedagogues to design a nursery school which is based on the educational principles of the 'Reggio Emilia' approach.

Like arms in an embrace, the left and right wings of the structure shelter the semi enclosed main entrance from the outside world. This is the first interaction space for parents and children on the yard of Tellus Nursery School.

Tellus Nursery School in Stockholm, Sweden stands between a small forest and a former industrial estate. The school represents the border between these two worlds: on the one hand it is very modern in its kidney-shape and unique style, and on the other, it fits into the environment well. Architecture firm Tham & Videgård Arkitekter has already built up its reputation in Sweden with eco-friendly private homes and public buildings. In this case they had to work with the client and pedagogues to design a nursery school which is based on the educational principles of the 'Reggio Emilia' approach.

The nursery school has an organic layout. Its vivid yellow facade is covered with 50x50 mm sawn wood panels which filter direct sunlight and create hidden windows. Windows are freely placed at various heights to allow children of different ages to look outside. The building complies with the highest standards for environmentally friendly construction, and is clearly designed and built to last. The colour choice though, is a puzzler. Yellow is a bold colour for a construction project, especially one that will be a unique part of the urban landscape: will it lose its impact over time, and will the future look kindly upon this choice?

There is certain logic to the choice of colour. A nursery school, where 2-5 year olds spend four to eight hours every day, should be an impulse rich environment, as it is believed that such environments help develop creativity and memory. The choice of bold colours, and the unique style of design of the space help matters here. Further, trendsetters such as Li Edelkoort's Trend Union predict the revival of primary shades (blue, red and yellow), besides earthy colours, black and white. This choice therefore is a futuristic and prescient design decision, rather than just a playful one.

The unique design style of the nursery school provides new ways to organise the oddly shaped interior. The structure consists of a large interior plaza, where children from all ages can participate in different group activities, and several smaller rooms for art projects and quieter activities. Each room has a dominating colour, along with the yellow which appears on the window frames. These colours (pink, green etc.) are bold and vivid, and are heightened by the simple white walls

Author: Viola is a Hungarian art history student. She is passionate about art, fashion and applied design. She runs DesignUpcomers Blog, a design and architecture blog with hints of fashion and interior design.