Dezeen Magazine

Arreletes Day Care Centre by Xavier Vilalta

Barcelona architects Xavier Vilalta Studio d'Arquitectura have completed a nursery in the village of Els Alamús near Lleida, Spain.


The the Arreletes Day Care Centre is inspired by the architects' childhood memories of "countless fruit trees, shade filtered spaces and trees perfectly organized with a calculated geometry."


The information below is from Xavier Vilalta:


Els Alamús, a small village of seven hundred inhabitants, is situated on a hill in the middle of the plain of Lleida, surrounded by a landscape of predominantly agricultural fields and fruit trees. It is a geometric landscape, planned and designed, the result of the work of men’s hands and engineering.


The nursery is located on the borderline between the town and countryside, next to the only road access and exit of the village, surrounded by a sports area, an orchard that will be transformed into a plaza in the future and a slope that separates the level of the houses and countryside.


From the first moment the project creates two volumes: one on the bottom, the classrooms of children and the courtyard, supported by the existing agricultural wall and following the direction of agricultural fields, and the other one above, the offices of teachers in the direction of the houses of the village, watching the children courtyard. The two volumes offer dual access to the school and are connected by a staircase that is inserted into the natural slope.


The personal experience: memories of childhood amid spun countless fruit trees, shade filtered spaces, trees perfectly organized with a calculated geometry and worked out during the winter… has been materialized in the volume of classrooms.


The spaces are versatile, continuous and have controlled lighting. The lobby and the first classroom can be transformed into a dining hall. The classrooms, which are connected to the courtyard through the changing room, enjoy an excellent orientation to the east by the horizontal window that rests on the slope, and a pixelated image of a bunch of leaves gives the interior corridor screened light from the west.


In the construction, industrial materials have been used: steel, concrete, glass and wood with two exceptions: a roof garden that wants the village inhabitants to keep looking at the countryside and some coloured glass that makes the corridor access a fun area for children and gives the building a representative character to welcome the population and the visitors of Els Alamús.