Masterbuild Commercial Winner 2013 - Magic Kingdom Childcare
Project description: Establising your new ECE
This blockhouse Bay home has undergone major transformation. Converting an understated two storey brick and weather board home into a state of the art childcare facility for sixty children. The removal of the existing façade and subsequent extension re-engages the building with the street scape.
While largely untouched the upper level houses critical facilities for staffing. Including offices, staff and laundry facilities. The ground floor was stripped totally to make way for large open plan areas, quiets room, toilets, resource room and entry foyer.
Children's toilet and utility rooms make the connection between old and new while offering practicality and convenience to both teaching spaces.
The new extension boosts two large play spaces, large cavity sliders form the separation required for achieving a flexible learning environment. Internal spaces connect to the outdoors via covered verandas making for a smooth transition to an extensive outdoor paradise. Verandas offer all year round protection for children and staff. Outdoor areas are heavily landscaped to enhance the children's experience and connect back to the building of which boosts garden and magical themes throughout.
Expansive concrete areas form the main access point and drop off points for parents. Landscaping forms the basis for the meandering entrance while relaxing forest music plays through a number of strategically placed speakers.
A new entry façade gives the impression the building is new and modern, hiding tired architecture from the past. Weather board cladding matches the existing while schist feature walls were introduced to reinforce the connection to nature.
Design Features / Creative Solutions:
The existing building offered some design challenges, while the owners brief was to reuse the existing building it did not fit the requirements of a modern childcare facility.
The introduction of a false entry façade solved this problem and allowed us to keep the old while parading the new. Large expansive spaces, light, ventilation and supervision are key to a successful facility. We achieved this by intruding floor to ceiling windows throughout the centre. The use of motorised highlite windows to increase natural cross ventilation, capture the maximum morning and afternoon sun into the play spaces. The use of verandas to the northern aspect of the property reduces heat gain in summer, offers shade for the children and provides shelter during the winter months making this a multi-use area.
Food preparation and distribution is key in a facility such as this, located on the upper level the kitchen introduced a major obstacle. The introduction of a dumb waiter meant food could be transported to the lower play areas practically.
Internal surfaces are key to positive learning outcomes; autex vertiface was used on the walls to reduce noise levels, commercial carpet where teachers can run quiet reading sessions and vinyl to heavy traffic areas such as the foyer, utility areas and main routes to outdoor play. This not only durable but a most hygienic surface.
Sustainability was also a key to the project; solar panels have been installed to supply 100% of the centres requirements. This is the first of its kind in New Zealand. Water tanks were also installed for reuse in toilets, laundry and garden taps. Onsite concrete was recycled and returned to site to be used a hard fill for foundations.
Playground design - www.playscape.co.nz