now i focussed on refining the plans. i also added the louvred idea for the divisions within the spaces. they are spaced out enough to encourage a flow but still act as obvious divisions within classrooms and areas of the nursery without sacrificing the open plan and "airy" feeling i though important to maintain especially for younger children. this avoids the feeling that children often have of school or nursery being dreaded and being "kept" there. the students are free to walk through classrooms via the louvres although there is a spacious "corridor" created via the wooden volumes.
the wooden volumes house programme which needs to be separated. in the classrooms they provide a warm and more isolated quiet area for children to go to sleep or simply to relax. they will also have a separated bathroom. in the lobby area, they provide a separate staff room. above each will be light piping/tubing to bring soft sunlight in where needed.
however, in order to make the most of the available space in the form, i needed to sink the floor down 1 metre. this allowed me to use more of the space within the sloped sections as headroom was increased. this also has the benefit of increasing the already discussed geothermal strategies as an additional metre of the structure is now embedded within the environment. the building becomes tied to the ground around it.
i had two solutions to accommodate for this level change.
level : a horizontal plane with respect to the distance above or below a given point.
one. the classrooms for the younger children under the slope became the only room to have its floor dropped. this then requires a ramp which doubles back on itself with built in steps to navigate the level. do i really want young children having to go down a ramp or stairs?
two. all rooms are dropped by 1 metre except the eldest classroom and the outdoor classroom. the older children are at the age now where they try to be independent and will enjoy the prospect of climbing steps to get to the "big kids" class. this also gives a sense of progression through the nursery.
the entrance/lobby area becomes sloped with one large ramp accommodating the level change. this makes more sense as you are brought into the building and immediately go down into it. the staff room is still within the wooden cube volume and programme is kept neatly within unaffected by the ramp.
this also has the benefit of the windows not being floor to ceiling from within the building but looking that way from outside. this means the users are less "on show" but still retains a clean and modern form. it also means that the louvres angles are effective and give the notion of trees when observed from outside.
this doesn't mean this solution is finished however, there are some iterative changes which i want to make to it.
most importantly, i want to get rid of the dedicated reception area within the centre of the building. this is unnecessarily big for the single purpose it serves. instead i plan to integrate a reception into the staff area at the entrance which i feel makes more sense with regards to circulation. in the receptions place, i plan to create a social hub using the same chairs/stools as are present on the roof within the pavilion area. this then acts as a area where children can go and chat to staff if needs be next to a beautiful atrium to calm down or other. it also gives a multipurpose space and does not obstruct the flow to classrooms and the hall like the reception desk did.
i also plan to use the space to the end of the slopes as reading nooks. again just another space for children to go, similar to the social area now in the middle next to the atrium but in a quieter area for those who prefer it.
this way i believe that my nursery caters for a vast array of users.
it may make more sense to have a ramp up to the outside playground. this way there would be a clear path within the nursery of how to get in/out aswell as a clear path overhead.
another sense of semi public and private.