The kindergarten has a red exterior

Birk Heilmeyer und Frenzel uses air-raid shelter as foundation for red daycare centre

A bold colour palette of red and green enlivens a new daycare centre in Stuttgart that has been built on top of an abandoned air-raid shelter.

Designed by local practice Birk Heilmeyer und Frenzel Architekten for daycare provider KiTa Parkstrasse, the two-storey building sits in a residential area close to the Park Villa Berg.

It provides a series of multi-use spaces for parents and children as well as an outdoor playground.

KiTa Parkstrasse by Birk Heilmeyer und Frenzel Architekten has a wood cladded exterior
Top: the kindergarten was built atop of an air-raid shelter. Above: windows were asymmetrically placed across the facade

The orientation, material choices and scale of the building were all dictated by this site, which is part of a "green corridor" home to several historic trees and a concrete air-raid shelter.

Using lightweight, prefabricated timber structure allowed this former shelter to be used as the foundations for the new building, which was then clad entirely in deep red planks.

"The red colour of the wooden formwork makes the building visible in contrast to the green of the park, and refers to the red shutters of the neighbouring Raitelsbergsuedlung from 1928," Birk Heilmeyer und Frenzel Architekten told Dezeen.

A staircase leads up the exterior of KiTa Parkstrasse
The exterior cladding was stained red

The organisation of the building has been split into two half. Offices and kitchen spaces occupy a northern ancillary half, which faces onto the street and residential buildings opposite.

In the southern half, flexible group rooms benefit from full-height windows and open onto the playground at ground floor level and onto a covered deck access area above.

Interior walls at KiTa Parkstrasse by Birk Heilmeyer und Frenzel Architektenhave a green finish
Birk Heilmeyer und Frenzel Architekten designed minimal interiors

These two halves are split by a skylit corridor, which opens onto a large entrance foyer that doubles as a meeting space for parents.

Vertically, floors are linked by a central staircase as well as two external staircases that bookend the building.

The group rooms, save for some built-in storage for coats and bags, have been kept as minimal as possible in order to maximise their flexibility, or even allow them to serve a different purpose in future.

"We try to design all of our buildings to be flexible and convertible," the studio told Dezeen. "This is the key to a long service life, and an essential contribution to sustainability."

Green covers the floors of the KiTa Parkstrasse
Floor-to-ceiling windows look out onto a terrace

Green wall finishes in the communal areas and central staircase have been introduced to "bring the park inside the building," said the practice.

Shortly after completion, the building was awarded the Hugo Häring Award 2020 from the Association of German Architects.

Red railings line the balcony terrace of daycare centre by Birk Heilmeyer und Frenzel Architekten
The underside of the roof was finished with a red hue

Birk Heilmeyer und Frenzel Architekten was founded in 2005 and is based in Stuttgart.

In Prague, No Architects recently completed a kindergarten designed to ease separation anxiety in young children, and in Melbourne designer Danielle Brustman enlivened a children's centre with handprinted pastel coloured murals.

Photography is by Zooey Braun.

Project credits:

Architecture: Birk Heilmeyer und Frenzel Architekten
Structural planning: Tragwerkeplus Ingenieurgesellschaft
M&E: Paul+Gampe+Partner Beratende Ingenieure
Building physics: Brüssau Bauphysik
Landscape architecture: Prof. Jörg Stötzer

More images and plans

Plans of the kindergarten
Floor plans
Large windows were oriented toward the play area
Skylights were used in the corridors
Pale wood covers the ceiling
Green covers the stairwell
Pops of white contrast with green interiors
Storage was built for coats and shoes
Strip lighting was used on the ceiling
The sloping roof has a wooden finish
Large windows are framed by red walls
White covers the walls of the teaching spaces
A classroom has a pitched roof
The bathroom has a red and white finish