De Kronkelaar is a focal point of the Groot Bronswijk park and a meeting place for the village. The square in front of the building is a sun terrace with a view of the park and the open landscape of Groningen. The building is versatile; he invites from all sides. The spacious, seemingly dancing roof is a series of barn-like hoods; an ode to the agricultural environment. It is no coincidence that the children’s center has the appearance of a pavilion, it is a reference to the pavilion that previously stood here in the middle of the park, designed by the famous garden architect Jan Vroom Sr. in the tradition of the English landscape style. Important features of Vroom’s design remain visible in the outdoor area of De Kronkelaar, which was designed by LAOS, partly on behalf of Onix NL.
The new children’s center houses OBS De Kronkelaar and Kids2B Childcare. He was born in Groot Bronswijk, a park that previously housed a psychiatric centre. Project architect Wouter Stoer of Onix NL: “A crèche must first of all be a healthy building; it must combine light and space with good acoustics, have a pleasant indoor climate and a beautiful view of a preferably green environment. Then you have a place where children feel comfortable, as do their supervisors. Equally important: the building must correspond to the educational vision of the client; it should enable teachers to provide an education that corresponds to this vision.
In the space between the classrooms, there are learning squares, which adjoin the central hall, which has the appearance of a communal conservatory. Thus, the building has no corridors; this is one of the solutions offered by Onix in response to the client’s wish to be able to work in a transversal and thematic way. By removing a folding wall, the adjacent playroom can be involved in the community space.
Inside and outside
All areas of the group have their own outdoor space: a veranda whose roof is formed by the cantilevered roof around the entire building. The outdoor space allows each class to easily use the surrounding park for outdoor lessons, sports activities or gardening. The overhanging roof acts as a permanent sunshade, so that diffused and pleasant daylight enters the rooms and the heat is kept outside in summer. The rooms face east or west, so they all have a comparable quality of space and use. This promotes flexibility, as each group or user can be placed anywhere in the building. Due to the series of hoods in the roof, there is a considerable volume of space with a positive contribution to the indoor climate. This is further enhanced by the possibility of natural ventilation and daylight entering through the roof.
Flexible in the short and long term
The fact that everything is located on the ground floor makes the building multifunctional, accessible and flexible; the structure of the building can be easily adapted. The symmetrical shape of the building also contributes to the seismic resistance of the building. Due to the clear structure and the entrances all around, it is relatively easy to anticipate the “soft” shrinkage in the village of Wagenborgen by reallocating parts of the building in the future.
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