While in Copenhagen I observed ten design elements that children benefit from in forest kindergartens. I used this research, combined with my experience as an educator, to design a cooking school in the meat packing district of Copenhagen. Inside there is also a learning area and a cafe for adults and older kids to enjoy while waiting for cooking class to finish. Seating is outside, downstairs, and upstairs in the loft and balcony.
Beyond providing access to views of nature and living plants, I am interested in investigating how to create spaces that encourage a sense of wonder, with flexible parts that users can manipulate to suit their needs. The project goal is to minimize the dichotomy between the built and natural environment resulting in a final design for an educational space that is inspired by natural systems and a trans-cultural understanding of classroom patterns and rituals.
The concept for the cooking school was based on fire and water. Both elements have movement and potential - like chldren. They are also essential for food!
Based on my observations while visiting forest kindergartens, I decided to incorporate movable seating in the learning area, varied heights for different vantage points throughout the building, textures at small and large scales, exposed fire, gardens, rainwater collection, solo window seats, and independance from parents.
In addition to the traditional brown brick, I added white subway tile, easy to clean for the kitchen;
new local birch lumber for the stairs and the exterior of the bathroom walls, reclaimed butcher block for the kitchen counter tops, white lime plaster for the interior walls, cob overns, and curved rocket mass heater benches, and loose pebbles for the children to appreciate.
Custom tables made of reclaimed wood display intricate artifacts that people of all ages and abilities can either sit or stand and take their time to get to know. They are hexagons, as are the larger wooden acoustic panels (with LED lights), as is the even larger pattern on the concrete floor. This repetition creates a pattern language of fractals.