Nominated for the German Sustainability Award 2020
Kita Goldhofer on the shortlist among the top 8

Jury decision:

The children’s daycare centre Karoline Goldhofer in Memmingen is asking the big, relevant question of how we treat used building fabric – and is finding good answers. This way, the building makes children, parents and staff experience that the used and repaired has value.

The children’s daycare centre is a former dwelling house, donated by a family. While others perhaps wolud have considered to demolish the existing building and to plan a new building on the plot, here the architects are working with the strengths of the old building – the materiality and the spaces – and complement it with a new, open area. A second skin in the form of polycarbonate multiwall sheets is being pulled over the villa of the founders. It functions like an energy garden: The thermodynamic buffer allows the abandonment of conventional insulation of the existing building. The former exterior space of the villa is turned into protected and generous space for the children.

The existing is being made new and knitted further. Here we see an example of aesthetics which we will – and will have to – come across more often in future: new meets old. Traces of the villa, like the external fireplace for instance, are integrated in the new interior space. Exciting recesses for discovery emerge here.

Thus, also the Reggio-pedagogical concept of the daycare centre is being translated into architecture: Not on the imperfection of the children, but on their strengths should we build. On the inside, all material has been retained as found or has been built on bare. This corresponds with the pedagogic idea that the used and repaired should be made available to be experienced. In this way, the space serves as an educator on several levels.

Creating something good from the existing isn’t a new idea. This has already happened before – from necessity or simply through common sense – and perhaps has fallen into oblivion in our times of comfort and consumption. The innovation – if this is what we want to call this rediscovery – lies in flouting the learned, conventional claims and to create something extraordinary from the resistance of the existing instead. This approach is honoured by the DGNB jury, with a nomination of the daycare centre Karoline Goldhofer for the German Sustainability Award Architecture.