It is constructed like a flower in full bloom– the building stretches outwards from the center like the petals of a marigold. During the summer, the surrounding nature is green and lush with spaces for play and exploration. In the winter the snow lay like a carpet creating an even more tranquil environment.
Solrosen Kindergarten in Hønefoss was completed in 2009 and is constructed using cross-laminated timber. The kindergarten is based on the idea where different hubs are forming the spaces. The hubs, or units, are each representing its own area for learning and are given a theme where the children are given the possibility to develop their way of study, exploring, and conceiving life. The architecture is inspired by the flowers and majestic mountains stretching high in Norwegian nature.
It was of great importance when forming the kindergarten that it would become a welcoming place. Not just for the children, but employees and parents as well. The day starts and ends with dropping off and picking up the child via a communal hall in the center of the building. This vestibule is bright, full of light, and heated by a fireplace. From the vestibule, you have direct access to the cloakroom. Here you will be directed further into the building to the large playroom where a staircase is leading to the 1st floor where the administrative functions are situated.
The kitchen, atelier, vestibule, carpentry, rooms for play, exploring, and silence are all placed around the large playroom. Galleries and spaces for storage are connecting the rooms. Greenhouses are placed where the sun leaves its rays. Both these spaces and the carpentry has direct entry to the outside area. All the units have direct access to the Japanese inspired terraces. The children can play “outside” without having to worry about the weather. And when it allows it big sliding doors bring the nature inside. The sun function as a clock – it follows the building throughout the day, greeting the children at the arrival, and wishing them goodbye when they leave for the day.
Cross-laminated timber is ecologically friendly and a breathing material, it also creates a warm atmosphere. In addition to this other material are also used on the surfaces – the different materials are important in the children’s lives as it gives the opportunity to get familiar with various elements – from concrete, dirt, and grass, wood to fire and water.
The Solrosen Kindergarten appears friendly and wants to welcome children to play and explore. A diverse range of activities is taking place – from the mindful tranquillity to the more robust play with a hammer and saw. The Kindergarten functions as a workshop where every day is a new chapter in the children’s lives.