An explosion of colors in an energy efficient kindergarten in Zagreb

Thanks to the atrium, the covered pergola, but also to the entire architecture, Fr.Vaj kindergarten allows children direct contact with nature and stay in a technologically advanced facility.

Kindergarten Vrbani II is the winning work from the public competition from 2005, built 15 years later on a plot within the Zagreb residential area Vrbani, and signed by young architects Marin Binički, Marko Salopek i Siniša Blaženka.

The kindergarten is surrounded on three sides by high-rise apartment buildings, while the Vrapčak stream is located in the northeast of the plot. In the middle of a dense and high-altitude environment, the kindergarten building is placed on the northwestern edge of the rectangular plot, thus freeing up the entire southern and eastern part of the terrain for open facilities for living, children’s play and greenery.

Photo: Bosnić + Dorotić

All units are connected by a hallway with an overhead light that provides ideal lighting for the space, but also a play area.

The disposition of the kindergarten is designed as a ground floor building in two tracts, thus achieving the most optimal functional organization, enabling children direct contact with nature and outdoor playgrounds, while avoiding architectural barriers of excessive height differences and difficult access for people with mobility difficulties.

It stretches along the entire southeast side of the building 12 units for nursery and kindergarten children. The rooms are dimensionally the same modules, but for the purpose of forming larger groups, there is a possibility of connecting adjacent units that are divided by movable panels. The interior connection of all units is realized longitudinal corridor – the central zone of the kindergarten, which, in addition to the communication function, with its cross-section and large longitudinal window light enables ideal lighting of the space, and with its spaciousness provides space for children to play, stay and educate indoors, especially when weather conditions do not allow outdoor access.

This spacious multifunctional hallway touches and atrium, which serves as a covered and open space for the youngest children to stay, ensuring the proximity of staff and easier control over the nursery children.

Photo: Bosnić + Dorotić

Covered pergola

The exterior counterpoint to the inner hallway is covered pergola placed along the facade along all kindergarten units, creating a protected covered space, as a filter zone between fully enclosed and fully open spaces. In the central part of the kindergarten, next to the mentioned spacious hallway, there is also multi-purpose space which, by isolating or opening, depending on the needs, can be used for educational purposes and entertainment (performances, activities, exercises, socializing with parents…). Along the street northwestern part of the kindergarten building, there are entrances, administrative rooms, kindergarten administration and kitchen.

Color explosion

Strong green color dominates the exterior of the kindergarten building – with three facades and a tin roof, emphasizing the purpose of the educational institution, which differs in bright colors from the exclusively residential neighborhood. The color accents in the building continue bright yellow pillars and beams exterior pergolas as well as yellow signs in the hallway, green-yellow-red furniture in the interior of that orange tiles on the sanitary walls of kindergarten units. As a visual contrast to the exterior of the green building, the inner atrium is completely executed in a complementary red.

Photo: Bosnić + Dorotić
Photo: Bosnić + Dorotić

The energy concept of the kindergarten set up in this way meets today’s energy requirements for almost zero energy buildings.

The load-bearing structure of the kindergarten building are reinforced concrete walls and solid slabs, while the yellow canopy is executed as steel frame with glass cover. The kindergarten is designed as low energy building, thanks to the increased thicknesses of thermal insulation, ventilation system with heat recovery as well as the southern orientation, which allows the use of passive solar gains.

Special attention is also paid to the design selecting movable elements; horizontal sunshades, blinds and blackout curtains, to protect against overheating in summer. Thermotechnical systems of the kindergarten building are based on renewable energy sources – heat pumps i solar panels with auxiliary gas condensing boilers. The energy concept of the kindergarten set up in this way meets today’s energy requirements for almost zero energy buildings.

Photo: Pavle Čondrić

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  • Title: Kindergarten Vrbani II
  • Authors: Marin Binički, Marko Salopek and Siniša Blaženka
  • Project team: Marin Binički, Marko Salopek, Siniša Blaženka, Vlasta Binički KAT doo
  • Investor: City of Zagreb
  • Performer: AB construction
  • Collaborators: Darko Žerjav ELAG – electrical installations, Marko Bajič Alarm automation – technical protection, Nikola Zadravec Eco Plan – Mechanical installations, Martina Gajdek FLAMIT – fire protection, protection at work, Ivanka Mlinarić landscaping, Robert Gojani ROBUR – traffic, Miroslav Sokolaj GEO 88 – geodetic project, Ivan Matković Institute of Civil Engineering of Croatia – geotechnical study
  • Location: Zagreb
  • Year of design start: 2005.
  • Year of construction start: 2019.
  • Year of completion of construction: 2020.
  • Coverage area: 6133,6 m2 m2
  • Total area: 2176,59 m2 m2
  • Total investment value without VAT: 3.7 million euros
  • Photographs: Bosnić + Dorotić, Pavle Čondrić

Source: Gradnja by

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