Spain and Kuwait-based practice AGi architects has been commended at MIPIM Architectural Review Future Projects Awards 2012, for their BBS Preschool and Wafra Living Residential Complex proposals. Both of them are currently under construction. In the first case, the project competed in Mixed Use Category and, the second one, in Residential Category. This is the third award for Wafra Living Residential Complex after WAF Prize 2011, in Future Projects-Residential Category, and the Arabian Residential Property Award 2011, under Multiple Residence Architecture Category. “This type of recognition is always an encouragement for going ahead with our way of working”, said Joaquin Perez-Goicoechea, Principal of AGi architects.
AGi architects proposal for designing a bilingual preschool in Kuwait consists of two areas for different uses. On the one hand, educational facilities, including a kindergarten and a nursery, will be located in an area of 2380 sqm and, on the other hand, a residential building of 4590 sqm will house teachers. The school has been designed with collaborative efforts under an organizational management team that influences the quality and objectives of the project. Parents, students and teachers all play important roles in the development of the school environment and should therefore participate in the collaborative efforts of the design.
The Building for children should be created from the child’s point of view, where the design is set specifically to familiarize with their world; taking into account their dimensions and having a clear understanding of spatial and social organization to help children get their bearing. The design should also have the flexibility to evolve and grow simultaneously as the children themselves grow, laying the foundation of every form of learning in the future. The building will be developed and synchronized in two parallel scales: throughout the school and from within the classroom level. AGi architects intend to create spaces, corners and details that provide as much potential as possible to encourage children’s independent activities, communication, orientation, social interaction and aesthetics. The experience should extend beyond the educational realm, to include cultural and social interchange.
The tower contains a total of 41 apartments for the teachers, with the configuration of 3 apartments per floor, however the order is interrupted in some floors where one apartment is transformed into a communal area comprising of a kitchen, dining room, T.V room, computer room and terraces. Where the tower meets the ground it houses the communal facilities containing a gym and a swimming pool that is shared between the preschool and the tower providing a link joining the two buildings together. Two larger apartments are also located on the ground floor, which that have the flexibility to adapt to clinics with direct access from the street.
Classrooms are double sided, where one looks into the interior of the building and the circulation, and the other looks out onto different gardens and playgrounds. Each classroom contain a small kitchenette, individual bathroom, play area, rest area, work area, space for teachers to instruct, read and supervise. Children can freely migrate from one area to the next without having to cross any boundaries, choosing to individually express themselves and controlling the direction of their learning path. The classrooms also contain areas where children can participate in group work such as watering plants, taking care of animals and keeping the class environment clean, which encourages social participation and community work.
Kindergarten and Nursery
Although the Kindergarten and Nursery share the lobby on the ground floor, the nature of each age group and therefore the requirement for each classroom, spatial configuration, and circulation is adapted accordingly. As a result, the building is developed as an ascending ramp directly relative to the children’s growth, the older the child becomes the higher up along the ramp he is situated. Different scenarios and circulation routes along the ramp are adapted for the various age groups and users, where access is limited to the type of user, such as children, teachers, parents, nursers…