A unique and innovative childcare centre capturing the cultural and spiritual values of the area
Dominated by two mature protected trees presents a unique opportunity for a childcare centre. The architect’s brief was to create a unique and innovative childcare centre capturing the cultural and spiritual values of the area.
There are two trees, an English Oak and Pohutukawa standing side by side with their branches touching at the heart of the site. This symbolism forms the basis for the whakapapa of the site and its proposed use: a bicultural (and multicultural) childcare centre.
Cultural symbolism can be found throughout the design, the most striking being the sail forms around the outer curve of the building. These are based on traditional Maori sail forms, but also honour other cultures of New Zealand, most of whom originally made the journey by sailing boats.
The indoor/outdoor ﬂow created by the continuous adjustable glass wall facing the mature trees is spectacular with the glass oriented north to allow it to collect as much winter sun as possible under the lowest branches. Parking is on the narrow road in front of the building screened by low shrubs and hedging, with the curve adding interest as the eye follows it around.
Internally, the kitchen is placed centrally and becomes the main feature along with the view of the trees as the visitor enters the building. This reflects the importance of sharing food as a way of breaking down boundaries between different cultures.
The reception area features a curved reception desk evoking the form of the chrysalis, which is the owners name and symbol for the centre. This theme is also taken into the classrooms with similar forms in each one.