009 - Kindergarten St Gallen | competition 2020

The bringing together of the 2 kindergartens at Idastrasse 23 & 25 and the day care Rotmonten-Gerhalde created the possibility of redefining the area south of the Gerhalde primary school . By combining these 2 functions of kindergarten and day care into one building, an efficient, compact, and flexible structure is created which embeds itself into the sloping site and the urban tissue around it.The principle idea (leitidee) of the project is to have the two functions strictly separated by level, but brought together in one simple volume. By putting the day care on the first floor, a direct, physical and logical connection is being made with the primary school, which is situated on the same level, only separated by the sport field. The kindergarten is placed on the ground floor and will therefor have the obligatory, direct connection to the surrounding outside spaces and is only a few steps away from the existing playground and newly created vegetable garden.


The building volume is a direct translation of the program, whereby the wish of a flexible floor plan, based on 75m2 units defines the simple, rectangular shape. By offsetting the floor slab of the first floor by 1,5 m, an outside space is being created for the day care, which at the same time functions as the entrance area for the two entrances on the first floor. This same floor slab creates the covered exterior space for the kindergarten on the ground floor. The exterior wooden columns carrying the slabs, enhance this space by creating an arcade where kids on both levels, protected against the elements,  can play, meet, or just sit down and observe. On the south side, the building reacts on the slight bend of the Schubertstrasse, by curving along. The floor slabs follow the road and by doing so, embed the building in its context. The out of recycled concrete made ground floor slab forms the base for the two levels above ground, which are entirely constructed out of a wood system of cross laminated timber. This typology, where a wooden structure is being place on top of a mineral base, follows the local building tradition of the area. Most of the wooden parts will be pre-fabricated, and will therefor significantly decrease the resource expenditure and building time on site. The wooden framed facade follows the clear, flexible language of the floor plans and the structural grid. The fully glazed windows make sure that sufficient light flows into the interior and a layer of textile sun shading gives the possibility of proper natural climate control. The green roof serves as a water retention system, which at the same time forms an extra layer of insulation which cools the building in the summer and keeps it warm in the winter. Sun collectors placed on the green roof, together with a heat pump, will support the supply of energy needed.


The extremely flexible and repetitive floor plan, together with the structural grid, make sure that the building can evolve along with its usage for the coming decades. The interior walls, build from wooden, prefabricated sandwich panels, are non-structural and can therefor be adjusted and replaced according to any future wishes.  


By placing the day care on top of the kindergarten, an extensive outside square is being created, where the kids of the day care can play and enjoy the surroundings, without mixing with the kindergarten. The direct connection of this square with the primary school and its sport fields creates a logical sequence, where the all 3 functions (primary school, sport field and day care) can function perfectly together throughout the day. The kindergarten is placed on the ground floor and by doing so, it has a direct connection to the green surroundings. For the kids it’s only a few steps to the existing playground, forest or the newly created garden. This garden will form an important part of the kids’ outside experience, as it will be a place where they will develop their first experience of growing food, flowers and the whole natural process that is part of it.

St. Gallen, Switzerland
Competition 2020
Kindergarten, day care
St. Gallen Municipality
1200 m2