Project is an extension of School for Mentally Ratarded Children in Ignaców, small village 50 km east from Warsaw. Peaceful, green surrounding makes perfect place for pupils, who need quiet yet not boring conditions to gain knowledge. Existing school is a typical educational building, not dealing or helping in any particular way with problems of more demanding children who are students there. What’s more, it does not benefit from natural advantages of the plot.
Phenomenology is an idea which create a base for most of architectural trends and thoughts nowadays. When treated very liberally, phenomenology could be translated on some problems, that must be worked out when dealing with effective school building for pupils who learn in a different way. For mentally retarded students it takes more time to understand principles in nature, rules in language or maths or in any other subject. To make that process more effective and easier, students should learn as much as possible on examples, observations or organoleptic tests. The possibility to be in close contact with natural environment thanks to great localization should be exploited on this field.
According to the fact that widely implied Nature is the most precious determinant of the plot, it was set as factor that leads the whole new building. For the project it was crucial to switch the main point of the plot from the existing school building to trees, that have not been perceived properly to their value. Trees were previously seen only as direction to school or border line for sports field, while their potential is much greater. Based on those thoughts, main part of the building was set. Extension was constructed on two levels – underground part and part above the ground in treetops. Both sections are dedicated to different activities; connection between them generates movement and emphasizes variety of feelings which are beckoned with those places. Upper part is divided into two sections - for traditionally perceived education there are completely quiet rooms where nothing is distracting children (windows placed higher, solid walls, simple equipment). The second part – corridor is a place to relax and have fun during the brake. The corridor is the main part of the building; constructed according to the line of trees; it is followed by classrooms and makes the every-day symbolic starting point for children in gaining knowledge. That part is fully made of glass so pupils are in constant contact with nature- they observe trees changing day by day, animals visiting them, weather alterations, seasons changes. They see rain and wind playing with trees, touch leaves, observe colour changes. Underground part gives totally different sensations; thanks to small amount of natural light is perfect for multimedia, displaying movies. Giving the feeling of a safe shelter deep in the ground, it stresses all aspects of nature, sun and conditions above.
| authors | MONIKA MICHALIK Eng. Arch. |