The Kinder Monte Sinai encourages children’s creativity through educational spaces designed to their size and comfort. The spaces generate a greater sense of belonging and create a comfortable and safe environment for the children.
The new preschool building is an expansion of the existing elementary, middle school, and high school. Because of the limited campus space, the project is located on top of the student drop off and parking area. It is distributed on 3 levels: the parking level, the first floor, and the second floor.
In the parking level, besides the drop off and parking area, an auditorium and gym was added for preschool only. In first level there is the playground, main courtyard, library, and first floor of classrooms. This level covers the parking area and is 36 feet above, offering many benefits such as safety and good views for the classrooms.
The classrooms are placed perpendicular along the main axis, alluding to the concept of stacked toy blocks. In the first floor, between the classrooms, are small patios designated for each classroom. Behind them are courtyards with plants and trees and stairs that lead you to the second level. Since the classrooms on the second floor are overlapped, there are terraces for each one.
The classroom units are 33 by 17 feet and 6 feet 10 inches in height designed to create a comfortable space for the children. Inside the classrooms are a small kitchen, storage room, and bathroom. Furniture is designed at the children’s height. There are 18 classrooms in total, 12 covered in precast panels, and 6 in colored laminated glass.
The precast, being the best solution, was used to cover the outer walls of the classrooms. The building’s orientation is south, receiving sunlight during all hours of the day therefore the precast maintained a steady indoor temperature without direct sunlight. Because of the limited construction site and the restricted working hours, the precast facilitated construction. The precast allowed the design of drippers, round windows placed at different heights, and a white washed quality finish.
The long span to cover the parking on ground level was achieved with the vierendeel truss. Its rectangular unobstructed frame permits flexibility for the architectural design. Some of the classrooms, aligned perpendicular to the truss, are in cantilever.
It was very important to attain a sustainable design for the project. The preschool, positioned facing south, receives direct sunlight during school hours, reducing energy consumption and maintaining comfortable temperatures inside and outside the classrooms. The position of the round windows on the precast panels allow for natural cross ventilation. Rainwater and sewage is collected and treated in the water treatment plant to be reused.
© Alfonso Merchand