Yet another example of recent investment to early childhood education and high-quality school architecture by the City of Espoo is Storängen School and Daycare Centre. The building combining a Swedish speaking daycare centre and primary school for 550 children is a result of an invited architectural competition held in 2009.
The building stands in the corner of two main traffic arteries of the Espoonlahti area and therefore is prominent in the townscape. Because of the traffic, the exterior of the building has a dual character. The facades facing the streets are covered with white hand-made brick and give a solid and somewhat closed impression. In contrast, the more protected side of the building morphs into two separate wings with light and undulating facades that are punctuated by large timber columns. The overall shape of the building thus resembles trousers, as suggested the name of the competition entry “Byysat”, a slang word for trousers.
To best adapt to the topography of the site the building varies in height. Therefore, the southern wing, which is dedicated to the daycare centre, is one storey high, whereas the wing for preschool children and primary school has three storeys. The main hall, which houses the main entrance, dining hall, stage and school library, is located between the two wings and connects all the different levels and functions of the building. The two wings create an intimate courtyard in between and a view that opens to the slightly sloping landscape towards the adjacent sports park.
Text: Petteri Kummala