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September 5, 2019 Статията е достъпна и на Български

“Play outside” Kindergarten

Kindergarten in “Gorna Bania”, Sofia; competition

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About The Project:

Competition organised by: Sofia Municipality
Location: Sofia, Bulgaria
Type: New construction
Area: 1856 m2
Budget: 1 250 000 €
Year: 2019
Team: Lusio, arch. Krassimir Krumov, arch. Denitza Dincheva, arch. Zahari Merdzhanov, arch. Ivanka Ivanova, arch. Daniela Slavova, arch. Aneta Slavova


Use design to maximise the outdoor playtime for kids, even in bad weather


Toddlers, 3-6 y/o children, kindergarten teachers and caretakers, parents

The challenge:

Currently, Sofia lacks enough kindergartens to house all the children of the fast growing city and existing state ones are packed with way more children than the staff can handle. They share some common challenges:

  • Filter spaces for shoes and coats usually have no direct connection to the outdoor playground, and thus kids and their caregivers circle around corridors and sometimes the whole building to go outside. Given that every teacher takes care of nearly 35 kids, the whole ritual of going out becomes a nightmare and as a result kids do not play outdoors as much as they should.
  • For most children the moment of separation from their parents is a negative experience they learn to associate with the kindergarten. Not only do parents also suffer during the separation, but what makes it worse is that a lot of kindergartens do not allow them to go inside and make them leave their children at the entrance.
  • Kids spend more waking time in the kindergarten than home and yet most kindergartens lack a homely feeling. Their traditional scale and form do not relate to children’s’ scale and expectations of a friendly environment.

Design solutions:

  • All of the kindergarten playrooms are situated on ground level and their adjacent filters for coats and shoes have direct access to the group’s outdoor playground. This makes it easier for caregivers to take the children outdoors without the fear of going around the building or losing track of them. Covered playing decks allow kids to play outside even in rainy days.
  • A welcoming social space invites the kids and their parents at the entrance to spend time together before separating from each other. Kids are immediately engaged by puff swings, climbing hills and a trampoline. The space also serves as a hub for events, right next to the sports hall that opens up to it.
  • The scale of the building is broken down by introducing the house silhouette that children usually drawing. The facade facing the street is limited to the height of one floor in order to avoid a first impression of a bulky institution.