Located in the old fishing town of Råå in the southern part of Sweden is a stunning beachfront kindergarten, with an incredibly modernist design. The jagged, timber-clad structure is built such that it emulates the shapes of sand dunes. Constructed as part of an existing school campus, its earthy tones perfectly contrast the vibrant orange roof tiles of the older building.
Designed by Copenhagen-based architectural firm, Dorte Mandrup, the Råå Day Care Center is situated along the shoreline bordering the intersection between the sea and River Råå. The single-storey 525-square-meter (5651 sq. ft.) structure sits on patch of grass, right opposite to the original school building with white walls and brightly-hued roof. The center looks after children belonging to four specific age groups, each of which is housed in a separate gable. Of the four gables, two overlook the beach and the other two face the old school building.
The exterior of the kindergarten is covered entirely with long, narrow strips of wood. The undulating design of the timber-lined rooftop is actually imitative of the sandy landscape typical of Råå. Its weathered look makes this low-rise building appear as an extension of the ground itself. A set of steps, on the outside, provides access to the roof. Talking about the design, the spokesperson of Dorte Mandrup said:
The building is based on the surrounding landscape, with its flat slightly sloping dunes and the distinctive typology of the small fishermen houses.
The structure features large windows, that provide breathtaking views of the neighboring sea. These, together with the huge skylights fitted into the roof, optimize the availability of natural lighting. The interiors of the kindergarten are equally unique, with strategically placed plywood bookshelves dividing the entire space into different rooms. Clear glass panes, lining the shelves on one side, allow better visibility in between the rooms and from across the corridor. The architects said:
Large windows in the facade and roof create a close contact with the sea and the surrounding landscape, and provide ideal daylight conditions all year round… They create a fluent spatial experience and consistency and transparency through the entire institution.
The soft interiors of the kindergarten are further accentuated by the plain white walls and light green flooring. Colorful toy boxes and furniture provide the perfect setting for children to learn and play. The two buildings are connected via a tunnel of sorts. The children’s playground, housing a number of rectangular and circular sandpits, lies somewhat sheltered in between the two school houses, away from the rough sea breeze.
To learn more about Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter, check their official website.