Kindergarten Windekind


Kindergarten Windekind

Brussels 2023

In Jette, Brussels, the buildings of the Windekind daycare center are due for a thorough renovation. The two eye-to-eye buildings have undergone several works over the years, which means that the legibility is lost. The east-west oriented complex also enjoys plenty of sunlight throughout the day, but mainly experiences the disadvantages of this. Due to a lack of sun protection, insulation and efficient ventilation, children and staff face a problem of overheating in the summer. Finally, the playful courtyard and garden deserve a high-quality transformation that radiates more spice and fun.

A combination of architecturally modest additions and energy-efficient interventions should guide the whole towards a sustainable future. With this in mind, the proposed solutions are increasingly tackling one problem at a time. The terrace to be built on the front building is a textbook example of this. The concrete cantilever with its spherical recesses at the bottom rests on slender columns, and serves as a (escape) terrace for the living groups on the first floor, shelter for the inner courtyard and sun protection for the ground floor areas. This is finished with a finely detailed balustrade in steel and, together with the escape staircase, provides a renewed connection between the front building and its outdoor spaces. The building is further upgraded by insulating the entire facade and finishing it with a light gray crépis and sun blinds in wooden sliding panels.

The building at the back of the plot will be thoroughly renovated, mainly on the first floor. There, too, access is created to a new terrace on top of the roof and surrounded by an extensive green roof. The front and rear building are thus visually linked to each other in an aesthetic way. It is on this floor that the living groups suffer the most from the heat. Low ceilings with little light but strong solar entry have a negative impact on comfort and the indoor climate. The construction of the two skylights on top of the roof tackles these problems in a high-quality way. The volumes with automatically opening windows provide more free height, bring in light and enable efficient natural ventilation and night cooling in the children’s living groups. In addition to external sun protection in the form of vertical fins, this floor is insulated all around and finished to a high standard in natural gray planking with an open joint.

Thanks to a clear concept, a number of well-considered interventions and investments in low-tech, energy-efficient, user-friendly techniques, this project has been converted into a sustainable ensemble. With this child-friendly renovation, Windekind will have comfortable indoor spaces, differentiated outdoor spaces and clear legibility. In this way, the nursery is given new life.