Day Nursery at AcharnesEdit profile
The day nursery is situated in the district of workers' housing in the Municipality of Acharnes, near Athens, and can accommodate 100 children, thus meeting the serious needs of the area, with care for babies in the babies' section, and day care and teaching of infants in two sections, one intended for infants of 1.5 to 3.5 years, and the other for those of 3.5 to 5.5 years. Definitive criteria for the solution given in terms of composition of the nursery were its balanced integration into the specific environment, which is characterised by its sparsely built fabric and the lack of a specific 'identity', and the flexible functional organisation of its premises so that the children's creative activities can be developed. A basic idea in the composition was the formation of a whole which, over and above its morphological self-sufficiency, should have its masses / members in a 'dialectic' relation with its immediate environment. This building, in parallel, symbolises the idea of the mother's loving care by its shape, which resembles a curving shell and embraces the central courtyard. More specifically, the unit is made up of three masses: A severe building mass which includes the entrance, the administration offices, and the infants' section on the ground floor, and the section for babies on the first floor. This mass defines the front on to the municipal avenue and 'signals' the main access to the nursery from it. A second mass in the form of section of a circular ring, which includes the section for older infants and corresponds in abstract terms to the truncated interior shape of the site, while at the same time 'embracing' the central courtyard, with an open view of the Athens basin. Incorporated into the roof of this mass is a small open-air space with banked seating, for lessons, recreation, and organised events, directly accessible from the central area by means of a ramp which links all levels of the building. A third mass is a small rectangular solid - a feature linking the two previous masses. This includes the multi-purpose hall with the restaurant, and has a through orientation and direct access to the courtyard. Its roof serves for the 'sunning' of the infants from the babies' section when this is possible, while it is crossed by an oblong metal passageway which links the floors of the two previous masses. The central courtyard, with a south-eastern orientation, is the 'heart' of the building and it is here that all the premises for the younger and the older children and the multi-purpose hall with restaurant are liberated. The kitchens, which communicate directly with the restaurant on the ground floor, ancillary premises, and a large car park for the staff are in the basement of the building. The whole building has been approached in bioclimatic terms, with appropriate orientations of the spaces, and features providing shade on the elevations and in the open-air areas. In the building's interior, flexibility is achieved by providing scope for uniting the rooms for older children with the curving part, and then opening these up to the multi-purpose hall and restaurant.