Toverbos consists of a total renovation of a former monastery into a new daycare centre made up of three communities and involving several general functions. The volume of the building has remained unchanged, yet the outer envelope has been entirely insulated and finished with ceramic tiling.
New windows retain the rhythm of the majestic existing building, with a degree of mischievousness to the upper floors due to the sporadic positioning of the half-width windows. The exterior woodwork is framed in white, which creates a stark contrast with the dark tiles of the facade.
The groundfloor, first and second floors are fitted out to be able to welcome a total of 54 children. Particular attention has been paid to the link between the floors: both physically, with stairs and a lift, and visually by creating a void in the stairwell. The staircases are finished in enamelled white steel bars from top to bottom in order to underline verticality.
The living and care zones benefit from large windows down to ground level. This enables sufficient natural light to penetrate and gives the children a view onto the outside world.
|program||total renovation of a former monastery into a new day care|
|address||Rerum Novarumlaan 1 - 2170 Merksem - belgium|
|team||structural engineer: Fraeye & Partners|
building services: Botec
safety coordination: Bovex
general contractor: PIT
Each community has its own adjoining exterior space, either in the form of a garden (partially covered) or a terrace. An exterior staircase, which also serves as an emergency exit, also physically connects the different exterior spaces to each other.
The shallow depth of the building and the large front and rear windows enable light to enter into the building in abundance and in depth. On top of this, the opening on the street side creates the necessary views and establishes contact between the street and the occupants.
Soft finishing materials have been used to provide the unit with a cosy feel. Oak door units, light PVC flooring along with floor tiles in various tones of warm grey, have been used to bring out this desired warmth. The walls have also been finished in a neutral and light colour to provide the children with a degree of calm.
The theme of the ‘magic forest’ is extended with the finishing of the cabinet units and with the signage. The fixed and integrated care-giving furniture is located in the care zone and responds to the required functionalities for a child-minding unit, while giving a nod in the direction of the overall theme in the form of play houses and trees.
The cabinet units have been given a neutral colour through the use of wooden veneer elements which have a playful character. The play houses, which include tactile elements and a maze, are integrated into the cabinet units, where the children can both learn and discover.
The theme is also apparent within the signage. Various animals have been used, each carrying out its own activity: a fox taking a shower or a hedgehog carrying a washing basket. In this way, the parents and the personnel can rapidly identify the space.