Education

ARCHITECTURE & EDUCATION IN NEW ZEALAND: CHRYSALIS CHILDCARE CENTER

10/08/2015,

I find very interesting how architecture and education interact. It has been fascinating to feature these previous childare centers in Mexico, Japan and Slovenia.

Today we are featuring this amazing work in New Zealand by Collingridge and Smith Architects.

 

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The Chrysalis Childcare Center is a unique and innovative childcare centre that captures the cultural and spiritual value of the area. The starting point was the site itself which presented both the problem and the solution: the trees.

As explained by Collingridge and Smith Architects: for most developers the trees have been a big problem, but for early childhood they provide a beautiful and symbolic solution. One is an English Oak tree, the other a native Pohutakawa, both of equal size and stature, standing side by side, their branches touching at the heart of the site. This symbolism forms the basis for the whakapapa of the site and its new use: a bi-cultural (and multicultural) childcare centre“.

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“In the traditional Maori view, the trees also represent Tane who separated Rangi and Papa to create the world (of light). The design draws on this by creating a ‘void’ or space around the trees, which separates out the various elements of the new centre and provides a protective enclosure around the root zone. The building represents Papa (earth mother) who was locked in a tight embrace with Rangi (sky father), and so the graceful curve of the building appears like two arms reaching out to the sky. The elevational form further enhances this effect by keeping a respectful height below the trees, allowing good views of them from the wider environment.”

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Further 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 These are based on traditional Maori sail forms but honour all the cultures of New Zealand, all of whom originally made the journey by sailing boats.

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The Chrysalis Early Learning Centre is a ground breaking, unique concept in early childcare education, with an innovative and spacious Pacific/Kiwi inspired “Play Garden” and “Edible Garden”. Their growing “Fruit-Orchard” allows fruit picking all year long for the children.

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I  am in love with their laser starlight projecting the Milky Way Galaxy & Moon in the ceilings of the sleep rooms.

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This design by Collingridge and Smith Architects is an architectual masterpiece and an inspiring and imaginative place for children, teachers and parents. It is a uniquely sustainable center that uses solar power and a rainwater recycling tank saving tens of thousands of litres a year, and many more environmentally friendly features.

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I would like to end this post with this inspiring quote by Nikeeta Singh, managing director of the Chrysalis Childcare Center, that I have read in their website:

“…I believe that the most powerful emotion in the world is hope…and in these modern times of hardship and challenges facing all of us, we wanted our centre to become a shining beacon of hope – hope for families and hope for their children that ‘ivy league” and ‘first class’ care and education can be found right here in Chrysalis – in the heart of Avondale …”, Nikeeta Singh

 

Photos credits: Collingridge and Smith Architects

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