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magic years creche

Dublin, Ireland – 14th of August 2003 – This is a 5,000 square foot purpose built crèche for sixty children known as ‘Magic Years’ and outlines part of a development which incorporates a residential cluster to the west of the site nestled within a suburban housing estate. The brief was to provide a “home away from home”.

Approach to the building is by way of a shared car park, a drop off point and then one proceeds by foot through a series of external spaces by an orchard to the heart of the building. One then passes between low and tall forms into the central hall incorporating pigeon holes for children’s belongings. Five brick elements arrange the double-height central hall creating a hierarchy of overlapping layers giving access to the play rooms adjacent to the exterior of the building where the smallest of the spaces connect to the garden. Timber screens separate the rooms from the hall, forming spaces at the scale of the children for displays and sittings. Windows are shifted within the wall thickness to express the mass of the brick elements.

The brick elements provide each of the children’s rooms with changing and eating facilities. Different staircases give access to the dormitories and a balcony at first floor which creates the perception of a maze to the child. Roof lights are used in differing orientations throughout the building to animate and promote awareness of moving light.

The rhythm of spaces is extended to the external landscaping treatment which results in dense foliage to the southern boundary.

CLIENTS’ COMMENTS: Are we pleased with the result? Perhaps the best people to answer that might be the parents who have proffered such insightful remarks such as fabulous and wow. Better still, maybe we should ask the children in our care, whose happy faces and stimulated engagements tell it all.