Boadilla del Monte

All weather playground Mirabal, Boadilla del Monte

Extension of a kindergarden playground

location: Boadilla del Monte, Spain

year: 2008

type: invited competition

status: completed

area: umbráculo: 810 m2, landscape: 4.200m2

client: Ciudad Infantil Mirabal S.L.

teamNavadijos Tarsoly arquitectos: Eduardo Navadijos, Csaba Tarsoly, María Dolores Sanchez García, Joao Gomes Leitao, Aldo Trim

consultants: apartec: Isidro Fernández Blanco

structural engineer: Juan de la Torre

constructor: acesinh producciones s.l.

photographyimagensubliminalCsaba Tarsoly

The project comes out of a restricted competition in which the owner was searching a solution for the redesign of the schoolyard. The city of Boadilla del Monte gave to the school a new terrain in the east boundary, next to a public park, as a compensation for the portion of their property next to the M-503 in the south boundary which was expropriated. The integration and adaptation of this new portion of land and the reorganization of the playgrounds for the children of age group from 1 to 5 should be solved in this project.

The new area added to the property had a somehow difficult topography. Part of our task was to connect the main plateau of the existing schoolyard with the new area and the street of Monte Veleta. To extend as much as possible the existing plateau would be useful in the sense that from the centre of the playground would be possible to control the children activities all over and it would give great unity. For this reason, in the property line to de Monte Veleta street and to the adjacent public park we proposed a retaining wall 1 meter high to content de 1500 m3 of earth added to the existing ground level in order to reach the desired level.

During the process we found out the need of an outdoor area where the children could play outside in the rainy days. The existing pavilion was a sort of sad metallic structure painted in a gray colour, isolated in a vast playground next to a small pavilion that housed the toilets and some storage. Developing the existing structure, the schoolyard is defined anew protecting the garden from the acoustic contamination of the near road. In order to keep the required 3 m distance to the property limit we had the opportunity to introduce a light curve in the form of the pavilion. We tried to create a big, airy, fresh playroom avoiding the usual clichés in colour schemes and conventional games. The architecture should be a quiet and bright background for the happy play of the children.

After winning the competition the city official noted that the occupancy ratio of the property was used to the maximum and therefore no roof area could be added to the existing building, but still we had to provide with an outdoor area protected from the rain. At this point we also thought that it would be very useful to create an area where children could play in the shade protected, as well, from the merciless sun of the Spanish meseta. We were forced to create a roof that was an open structure and, at the same time, the structure had to be able to collect rain water. Exploring different geometries and taking into consideration that the new solution should have the minimum impact possible in the budget we came up with the built solution: a roof made out of a set of gutter beams of 3mm folded steel sheets overlapping all over the length of the new structure every 50 cm. This structure would serve as a rain channel, sun screen and would allow air circulation. The overlapping was calculated to avoid the direct entry of rain drops as well as the bouncing ones between beams. These 9.10 m long beams are lacquered blue on the top and white underneath so the reflected bluish sunlight mixes with the blue of the sky giving the impression that the roof is more open than in reality. The rainwater, collected in the gutters formed in the bottom part of the beams is directed toward the trees in the south façade.

The new pavilion rests like a big truss on a total of 9 supports, floating lightly over the ground. The structure is formed out of vertical and horizontal steel tubes. The rhythm of 50 cm was given by the fastening system of the 50 cm wide polycarbonate plates. Avoiding the use of structural diagonals we achieve a unitarian translucent shell and therefore a new lightness. In the tension points we enhance the section of the vertical steel tubes so, like the chords of a guitar, the tubes reach the desired tone. The 12 m long cantilever which ends the pavilion in the east side is also build without diagonals.  Columns, which could have been dangerous for the running around children, had been avoided cladding the whole structure in polycarbonate plates. The translucent panels were printed white with the graphic of children hands.

All the children toys were specially developed within the frame of this project. The necessary fences between the different classes were transformed into an attraction which divides the age groups but invites to common play. The green rubber floors adapt to the peculiar topography or creates circular sandboxes where children extensively play, the round openings underneath the billboard stimulates the children to interactive ballgames, the slate panels in the toilet walls offer themselves to be painted on.

Within the new garden we also created an amphitheatre carved in the ground and built out of concrete. Wooden seats of three different tropical woods allowed the use for 150 children. All over the new perimeter we planted a garden with trees and aromatic bushes.