In the spirit of the Forest Schools movement, the intention is to place outdoor play and exploration at the heart of this progressive nursery. A simple, nearly rectangular building form is peppered with curvilinear edged glass courtyards which draw children into them at every opportunity. Three of the site’s trees will not be lost by its construction. Each tree’s shadow conceptually generates the plan of its own courtyard – the shadow of the north west summer sun, the winter equinox and the north star – linking the building to stories so the children can share a fascination with nature. By making each activity space ‘self sufficient’ with its own set of toilets, kitchen and storage, the need to circulate outdoors in poorer weather is minimized.
The rooms do also link up internally in series, room to room for really bad weather. The staff areas are at the ‘head’ of the plan with good visibility over all the nursery areas as well as the public entrance for security. PassivHaus standards can be set as targets for energy and air infiltration. Timber can be used extensively and innovative methods of construction such as cross-laminated off-site panels, can be explored.