01 Oct 2021 • Institutions
Finland’s history of wood construction informs this nature-infused kindergarten
The spatial design for the New Nordic School in Helsinki draws inspiration from outdoors while retaining the feeling of safety being inside.
This private day care is housed beneath Supercell’s headquarters on the ground floor of Wood City, a sustainable smart city development reflecting Finland's tradition of building with wood. As such, Finnish studio Fyra’s concept for the 300-sq-m kindergarten takes its cues from timber as well as the site’s proximity to nature.
Located just off the Baltic Sea, the surrounding topography is recognizable in the undulating lines informing spatial elements as well as a colour palette largely featuring blue and verdant tones. Simple and clean finishes define the school’s several rooms, which are organized around a large communal area that functions as a reading lounge and an open kitchen. Natural light flows in through large, street-facing windows.
The designer’s intention was to create a space that would promote a feeling of safety and inspire creativity. Referencing the project’s surroundings one again, wave paintings obstruct street views to provide privacy while a series of large-scale murals by illustration studio Piñata help fulfill the latter. They introduce a cast of animals within seasonal settings that serve as a much needed contrast to the studio’s abundant use of wood, drawing from the building’s exterior and mirroring the overall organic design language.
As part of Wood City, a new district in Helsinki being formed almost entirely with timber, it makes sense that the kindergarten’s interior design should follow suit. Not only does it further convey the relevance of sustainable materials highlighted in wider development but it offers a unity to the spatial programme and encourages a relationship with nature through an educational setting, which children are sure to enjoy.