Renesa Architecture Design Interiors Studio conceives ‘The Tetrisception – a renaissance of design ideology for the young ones’; IAnD questions its practicability. |
Building on the underlying principle of facilitating learning and growth for children aged two to four through their built environment, the architects readapt an old residence in Delhi into a preschool and daycare centre.
Inspired by and commendably implementing the treatment of the popular Tetris game on the façade, “Tetrisception” (the resultant coined terminology) aims at being a catalyst and enabler in a child’s natural, physical and social development through a strong play of colours and volumes.
The playful façade greets children and parents, inculcating nostalgic feel-good in the latter; whilst it establishes a sense of connect for the children, to emotionally enhance and ease their first step into the outside world. The healthy white backdrop of the Tetris-façade - energizing, refreshing and welcoming with its pops of colour - seems an instantaneous success element in attracting the child to school sans the generally-observed emotional push.
Once inside, the design takes on a bold avatar with colour-blocked monolithic envelopes in red, yellow, ink blue, purple… Three classrooms, a large discovery room, toilets as well as lobbies and interstitial spaces composed of reading nooks and seating areas are all splashed with contiguous expanses of bright colours broken only by a rather neutral, intriguing criss-cross pattern on the ceiling and the windows letting in abundant natural light.
Considering the potent impact of colours on the preschoolers’ psyche, we see that up to age six years, a child discovers his/her environment through the senses. There is a direct impact on cognitive development through sensorial experiences. What a child sees has an impact on his learning and on his emotional state of mind. A child in preschool experiences separation anxiety; thus, it is important to provide an environment, which is not too overpowering but is more comforting and soothing, which will make the transition from home to school easier, paving the way for the initiation of an important life skill - adaptability. Too much of any bright colour may lead to hyperactivity and hamper attention span, leading to crankiness in the child.
Kavita Sukhani, Head of School, Next School and an Art Teacher applauds the architectural sensitivity of the façade, expressing, “I would have liked to see the external theme used for seating areas in different open spaces or create play spaces with the similar theme”. She continues, “The strong dark hues of interiors look really appealing at first look but tend to restrict thought in the long run. In a preschool setting, we want the children to freely explore the space, which the space design does; however, the bold colours can have a restrictive impact on children. Very small children might feel afraid/ overpowered by certain spaces in red and yellow…”
Analyzing the design, Komal Desai, Early Childhood advisor at NEXT school points to another tangent: “In the early years, the focus is a lot on developing skills for which the teaching aids developed for kids are brightly coloured. So, the wall colours of a classroom should ideally be very simple. Also in a preschool classroom, more focus should be on displaying children's art work on the walls; these bright colours will overpower the colours of children' s works.”
Counselling Psychologist, Kruti Shah from Mumbai, informs that with kids being naturally attracted to bright hues, the latter becomes a natural inclusion in everything to do with children; making it imperative to strike a balance between stimulating the child and empowering him with the ability to decipher and interact. It is equally necessary to consider how the environment impacts the teachers and caregivers.
So, considering a pre-school’s primary purpose is holistic child development, findings indicate that the brash red in the discovery room meant to target the hunger to learn can also trigger anger or irritation. The yellow corridors to create an airy impact may provoke disturbing emotions. The staircase painted dark blue and purple can hinder physical movement of the kids even though elements in bright orange attract them to the upper levels.
Whilst the design of this school succeeds in being experimental, well-articulated in terms of transitioning from one colour block to another – all in dark tones; yet weaving a dynamic environment, it tends to simultaneously recall the itinerant thought: have the contrary effects of the bold play of colours on a child’s psyche really been accounted for? Check out the images of this school on indiaartndesign.com
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preschool, children, institutional design, colour play, adaptive reuse, architecture, interior design, space planning,