The Kindergarten is the first public building a young child comes in contact with, and attributes to it a dilated importance. In this case, we are introducing you to the Kindergarten of the German School of Athens, Greece, designed by Potiropoulos D+L Architects.
The building was addressed during the synthetic approach not merely as function – as by convention we know – but as contributor to the actions of the small pupils, as material semiotic system involved with them through a network of interactive relationships. This is an approach which is based on the stance that architectural space is not idle, that is not sufficient to measure it geometrically in order to understand it.
The established “neutral” proposals for preschool facilities that we know of in our country seem correct in one sense: about what they say; but what they do not say, what they omit, is the most important. They are proposals based on “logic”, “order” and “safety”, but they are not proposals for running, for carefree wandering, for voices, for fruitful “contrasts”, for “hidden facts”, for mere contemplation, for situations “out of control”. Thus, a need emerges: “to think the ‘unthinkable’,” as E. Grosz writes, “to imagine an architecture “outside” the boundaries of until now.”
On the contrary, it constitutes an internal, inherent and transformable part of human daily life, closely connected with the social and personal “rituals” and activities. In this perspective, the devising of “gestures” that will give new “displacement” in the educational effort by mobilizing mental and emotional reflexes of the child, describes the conceptual axis of the “idea”, say the architects in charge, Dimitris Potiropoulos and Lianna Nella-Potiropoulou of Potiropoulos D+L Architects.
All images are courtesy of Charalambos Louizidis.