Little Doves Early Learning Centre, Albany
The Little Doves Early Childhood Centre sits nestled amongst the trees in Kristin School’s large, extensively landscaped campus. Analysis of the site played an important role in developing the concept for the centre, where the clients desire was to ensure the childcare centre fits in with the broader context of the campus. We approached this project aiming to develop an architecture that ties together both building and landscape and blurs the boundary between the two.
To achieve this, the concept of the ‘secret garden’ was adopted. The building weaves through the sites existing trees and is situated so that the landscape remains as unaltered as possible. Four main walls separate the programme, turning each of the four spaces into ‘courtyards’ that create the feeling of smaller, private walled gardens. The buildings four key functions are centered around these four walls and split into the entrance and car park/drop off point, a staff administration block, the main childcare centre and outdoor play space, and a pedestrian entrance route.
The corners of the childcare and staff administration block overlap, joining together to form the social heart of the building. From this central circulation space, there are direct views to either end of the building out towards the gardens, maintaining the visual connection to the outdoors, even from the centre of the building. Internal features include an ‘interactive timeline’ through one of the main corridors, that references the natural history of the site through the use of totara, kauri and apple tree CNC timber panels.
Louvered canopies extend outwards along the buildings edge, allowing natural light to enter the building in the winter, and provide cooling and shade from the summer sun. The extensive glazing and large sliding doors that open out towards gardens and play areas breaks down the boundary between interior and exterior spaces, tying together building and the landscape.
Some of the images in the gallery have been produced by Caravan Images.
Facts + Figures
Client: Little Doves Early Learning Centre
Construction cost: Approx. NZ $2 million
Area: Approx. 350m²
Programme: Completed 2018