The Fagerborg Kindergarten, designed by Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter, is located in central Oslo and it was finished in 2010. The previous nursery in this small city park surrounded by residential buildings from 1900-1950 was removed due its poor conditions and standards and the new one was built with a contrasting language working as a modernizing element in the area.
The kindergarten is composed by 2 units for children between 1-3 years old and 2 units for children between 3-6 years old on a total gross area of 1200m2. The functional solution allows the 4 units to work both independently and together as required. All units share a common area and a kitchen in the centre of the building. Administration is placed on the upper floor separated from children areas.
Kindergartens are very often disregarded as a typology where architectural quality and high standards must be a priority, due to budget cuts and/or clients, although these are the places where the next generation acquires their first experiences and education which might configure the adults that they will be in the future. With this in mind, Reiulf Ramstad developed an environment where physical limits and character would be stimulated by the building’s design itself.
The building evolves from a simple paralelipipedic shape which has been stressed, stretched, pulled up and compressed, both vertically and horizontally, creating this more exciting shape, meanwhile answering the basic needs of the program: a protected entrance, some comfortable sheltered outdoor areas which make the transition between the interior and the exterior, a skylight lantern to bring sunlight to the middle section of the building, etc. At the same time, this bold form is entirely wrapped with these raw and simultaneously familiar wooden slats, generating this recognizable and even traditional feeling both for adults and the children.
The inside is more neutral, covered with light pine boards with small areas of sharp colours indicating stairways and passages.The small square windows spread all over the facades allow some interesting games of light and shadow, framing elements on the park nearby.
With an independent Oslo-based office since 1995 Reiulf Ramstad has be much applauded by his work, both in Norway and internationally, developing projects strongly based on a conceptual research, bold shapes without forgetting a sense of site and local traditions.