Besides being an architectural structure, the space is an area where people meet and live, which encourages relationships between people and interactions between objects.
The Early Childhood Centre is a living environment that is continuously marked and changed by the explorations, investigations and experiences of all its protagonists. The environment is not a rigidly structured space; it should rather be considered as a living structural organism, where several different dimensions can live side by side. An environment that takes its shape and identity from the relationships that are made within it; a space that is an active partner, a metaphor for knowledge.
We therefore believe that this area must be designed by creating environments that are important for the people within it, where everyone can feel welcome, can feel that they belong and where they can leave their mark.
All this leads us to think of this space as a “research project” that is able to measure its success by the efficiency of its language and its ability to interact with the evolution that is education.
The piazza represents a crossroads, a place to meet, to spend time together, and to share experiences and research. It lies in the centre of the structure; all classrooms, the entrance and the dining room face it. The piazza also leads to the outdoors. Our piazza has a marble floor and a notably high ceiling with porthole-shaped openings, letting light in from the outside in order to create striking light effects.See photos
The Early Childhood Centre has five everyday life classrooms that have different furniture, different colours and elements identifying each of them. The classrooms together with the dining room, the Great Atelier and the outdoor spaces shape our Early Childhood great laboratory.See photos
Atelier and mini-atelier
Research places where children can continue their exploration, inventions, exchanges, giving rise to new experimentations through their multiple expressive languages; special spaces for listening, “relaunching” and in-depth researching, where poetics and logic, words and the body, imagination and reality coexist.See photos
Mandala and Sand Atelier
A large area of fine sand children experience and explore with their entire body. An area where they can build, leave their mark and experiment with signs. Next to it a smaller place where the children can use a variety of natural materials to create small compositions and picturesque landscapes.See photos
A green area offering children and adults direct contact with nature and in particular with its inhabitants (plants, flowers and insects); this space offers the chance to feel a sense of continuity between indoors and outdoors experiences.See photos
The particular sound that children create in this tunnel provides a special setting where they can experiment with their voice, movement and use of tools.See photos
A permanent set up that hosts the exhibition called “The day is going to end”, a collection of photographs, words and thoughts of the children attending Tempo Lungo about the change of the sky when evening comes. In it there is a mini-atelier to continue researching on this broad and fascinating subject.See photos
Wooded area and orchard
The outdoor spaces create a large natural workshop to explore the relationship with nature during the different seasons. The park of our Centre includes an orchard, a wooded area and a vineyard.See photos
The vegetable garden project came about out of the desire to create, cultivate and nurture an everyday relationship with cooking and food; it also arouse out of the need to take part in the magic of life that is born and then grows, and to relearn the value of waiting and taking care of something.See photos
“I was impressed by the spaces and the brightness”
Ponzano Children Early Childhood Centre parents
The architectural project
The architectural side of the project was entrusted to the internationally renowned Spanish architect Alberto Campo Baeza, who said: “We tried to create a place that is not only exemplary in its functionality, but that is also able to provide a variet y of spatial sequences; a living building where children can dream and be happy”.
A box that is open to the sky
We built a square box made up of nine smaller squares. The central piazza stands out to collect sunlight from above, through nine holes in the ceiling and three more on each of the four sides. The classrooms are located in the surrounding areas. This squared structure is inscribed within a circular enclosure giving rise to four open-air courtyards, each with different flooring: wood, sand, grass and marble.
The space between the two perimeter walls creates a tunnel designed as a “secret” place for the children.