Set on over 3½ hectares of land, amongst paddocks and streams, Fantails Estate is a new archetype for Early Childhood in New Zealand – the owner’s vision was a ‘luxury lodge’ for children. Located at the end of a winding, estate-like driveway, we envisaged Fantails Estate to be a childrens retreat – a blend of functionality, aesthetics and sustainability inspired by luxury rural lodges and countryside estates.
In keeping with the concept, the building is broken into six individual blocks fanned out around a geometric timber canopy. Blocks 1-5 are classrooms for different age groups, and block 6, a staff block including kitchen and laundry facilities and administrative spaces.
Each classroom has a north-facing outlook to the large playground and countryside setting, with the playground providing children with seven times the minimum area for outdoor play. Full height, low-E coated glazed sliding doors create seamless indoor-outdoor flow, while framing views out to the playground and surrounding paddocks. Deep canopies and covered art benches create sheltered all-weather areas that allow children to play outside in any weather, and keep the building naturally ventilated for most of the year.