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13 of 3,655
Early learning center sustainably embraces rural New Zealand
Publisher:
Inhabitat
El Segundo, California, USA
Media, Technology, Architecture, Interior Design
Author: 
Lucy Wang
Date Published: 
2020-09-10
Keywords: 
Dairy Flat, New Zealand, Architecture, Learning Center, Education, Child Care, Preschool, Timber, Daylighting, Rainwater Harvesting, Blackwater Treatment, Energy Efficient Envelope, Passive Solar, Daylighting, Natural Ventilation
Tapestry Statistics:
ID: 
3843
Added: 
2020-09-10 18:39:30
Updated: 
2020-09-10 18:50:47
Content Score: 
9.67
Profile Views: 
235
Click Throughs: 
48
Image:
Mark Scowen via Collingridge and Smith Architects
Excerpt:
In the rural New Zealand haven of Dairy Flat, U.K.-based architecture firm Collingridge and Smith Architects has recently completed the Fantails Estate, an early learning center for 154 babies and preschoolers. Designed to sit sensitively within its rural context, the modern building is built primarily of timber and opens up to the outdoors with large windows and areas for outdoor play. Sustainability has also been naturally woven into the design, which includes a rainwater harvesting system, onsite blackwater treatment, a high-insulated building envelope and passive solar principles.

Set over 3.5 hectares of land, the Fantails Estate was conceived as a unique “luxury lodge” for children. The center features a radial plan with six individual blocks fanned out around a geometric timber canopy and centrally located car park. The six blocks comprise five individual classrooms as well as a private staff block housing the kitchen, laundry and administrative spaces.

Each classroom opens up to a shaded, north-facing terrace that connects to a large playground and countryside views. The integration of all-weather play spaces provides children with seven times the minimum area for outdoor play, with each child allotted approximately 52 square meters of individual play space, according to the architects. The sizing and orientation of the blocks are also optimized for indoor access to natural light and ventilation. Low-E glazed sliding doors emphasize the indoor/outdoor connection.

A warm, natural materials palette defines both the exterior and interior, the latter of which is fitted with custom-designed cabinetry and play equipment for a cohesive feel. Steel beams and posts were minimally incorporated into the building’s timber envelope so as to minimize the center’s overall carbon footprint. In addition to a high-performance envelope that minimizes heat loss, the architects oriented the building for solar gains in winter and natural shading and thermal mass cooling in summer.

Organization Mentioned:
CASA | Collingridge and Smith Architects
Auckland, New Zealand
Architecture, Sustainable Design, Interior Design, Landscape, Furniture Design