The kitchen is the heart of the . . . school? The architects of this Czech educational institution think so
Elementary School Amos in Psáry, a village in the Czech Republic, calls to mind the old adage ‘the kitchen is the heart of the home’. Not only did Prague-based SOA Architekti design the building to feel like a home, but they placed the canteen at its core. The latter – a double-height multifunctional space that can be turned into an auditorium for events – helps the institution fulfil its additional roles of community centre and after-school-activities facility.
Conceived as what the architects call a ‘learning landscape’, Elementary School Amos is a fluid space, whose various zones accommodate different levels of privacy and teaching setups. Dedicated learning spaces are organized in clusters, each of which comprises two to three classrooms, is directly connected to the outdoors and has its own colour identity. Students can enhance this identity with their own, thanks to magnetic and writable walls. According to the architects, the cluster arrangement naturally creates an enclosed smaller unit within the large building, allowing for multiple teaching concepts and variable use.
The use of wood in the interior reflects the architects’ desire to bring a domestic ambience to the school. It forms the structure of the roof grid in both the lobby and canteen, and features as walls, built-in furniture and windowsills. ‘Together with a playful, graphical identity based on children’s drawings,’ says a spokesperson for SOA, ‘the wooden elements give a warm and homelike feeling to the whole building.’
Read about more institutional spaces here.