The architecture mimics the development of the child through the different age phases. Thus, the building also play a pedagogical role, by having different types of spaces that challenge children to learn through explorations. This includes indoor hills for climbing, caves that supports a sense of safty and the oldest children will have a look out post over the city.
In the brand new Cartesius neighborhood in Utrecht, a sustainable child center, with primary school, daycare and sports hall will be built, where students and athletes will live longer and happier. Our design is a compact, nature-inclusive and future-oriented building that plays an active role in the lively district. We’ve organized the combined program in one flowing spiral movement around a green heart. School, daycare, and sports hall operate independently, but also together under one roof, as one gesture.
Blue Zone for learning
The Cartesius neighborhood is designed according to the Blue Zone concept: a healthy lifestyle and living environment that is derived from the five areas in the world where people live the longest and happiest. The design of the child center with sports accommodation is an interpretation of the core values of the blue zones, converted into applicable terms for education and childcare for which nature and sustainability play an important role. The complex is a solitaire object in the green loop that encloses the neighborhood, where the nature flows on, in, over, and through. In architecture, it creates a dialogue with the two other freestanding objects in the area, the Solo building by Zecc and the traffic control post by dJGA architects, with its rounded corners and cantilevers in the facade.
A fluent learning curve
The design is based on the idea of continued learning. Thus, education and childcare merge into one fluid movement in which the development of the child is central. The architecture of the building is designed according to this idea. As a result, the program is organized in a spiral movement around a green heart. This ensures a natural flow through the building and a safe environment that stimulates interaction and synergy between the different age groups. Each age phase has its own and self-evident place in the building, which is logically linked to the next phase. Going to school becomes a journey in which the qualities of the educational environment move along with the trajectory of the child.
Sustainability at Cartesius Child Center
The Cartesius Child Center will be an energy neutral building, which matches the municipality’s ambition to realize the most sustainable and circular building in the Netherlands. The primary school is designed as a biobased construction with a clear identity and structure. Here, all entrances will be recognizable to ensure a sense of belonging. We draw the landscape from the surroundings all the way up to the roof gardens. The buildings elaborate landscape connects seamlessly with the green character of the area and it is closely linked to the Blue Zone concept of health and well-being. Over all, the building is nature-inclusive, ensuring that nature can be experienced throughout the building. For example, there will be nesting houses, bee hotels and tiny forests and the roof gardens will be furnished with vegetable gardens, so that students and teachers can see and experience nature from anywhere.
- Gemeente Utrecht
- 6760 m2
- NEXT Architects / Bureau B + B Stedenbouw en Landschapsarchitectuur / Breed Integrated Design / Deerns / DGMR adviseurs / Vitrivius Bouwkostenadvies.