Kekec Kindergarten
Kindergarten Kekec is the extension of a typical Slovene prefab kindergarten from the 1980s. Situated in one of Ljubljana's highly populated residential areas, Kekec answers the growing demand for kindergartens. More and more kindergartens are needed in the city due to Ljubljana having witnessed considerable population growth, as well as due to legislative changes and a planned increase in building density inside the highway ring surrounding the city. The construction consists of prefabricated wood of local origin and was set up in three days only. The main design concept derives from the existing kindergarten's lack of play equipment. The new façade eliminates this weakness by offering a play element along all three exterior walls: it consists of dark brown roughcast and timber slats revolving around their vertical axe. The slats are the colour of natural wood on one side but painted into nine different bright colours on the other side. The toy slats offer shade for the windows behind, as well as provide for children's play and learning: as the children manipulate the colourful wooden planks they get to know different colours, experience wood as a natural material and constantly change the appearance of their kindergarten, all at the same time. Children rarely get the opportunity to connect with their kindergarten in such a way, to play with it and change the way it looks, as is the case with Kekec. The new kindergarten annex grows out of the south side of the existing building and stretches into the garden, adding an additional 130m2 of playroom surfaces to the original volume. Playrooms are compact but allow for the furniture to be arranged in various formations. Daylight floods the interior from three sides as well as from the roof. Located between the two playrooms, washrooms have large glass openings, which visually increase their volume as well as ease tutor supervision. Wardrobes in the narrow changing room are made from pure natural wood and have pull-out boxes for shoes in all the colours of the façade, which also serve as a bench, hence functioning as a space saver. Although modest in size, Kekec clearly shows how a problem solving architecture can supplement and enrich anonymous existing structures within the very limited budget.

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