Children need to have to right for proper education in a safe environment where they receive the essential nurturing. Unfortunately, this universal law remains theory most of the time. Due to financial constraints and other political priorities comprehensive education for young kids are not always emphasized. Luckily, there are places in the world where children education is still high on the nation’s agenda. Medellin, the second-largest city in Colombia is a great example for this. The city council here is keen on improving the state of children care and decided to create about 20 new kindergartens. This ambitious goal was set about 5 years ago and today we’ll visit the Pajarito La Aurora kindergarten.

The public competition for this kindergarten was organized in 2008 and was won by two architecture offices. Catalina Patiño, Eliana Beltrán and Viviana Peña of Ctrl G Estudio de Arquitectura joined their forces with Federico Mesa of Planb: Arquitectos and together they came up with something extraordinary. With the tools of intelligent design, the team successfully created a second home for the 300 nursery-school children. The whole design focuses on flexible spaces and modular systems. The architects were aware of the modern requirements of kindergartens: they should be able to accommodate a diversity of activities, need to be rich in small spaces that open playing possibilities and encourage children to experience the environment. To meet these requirements the design makes repetitive use of a module. This module is an irregular and elongated figure: a six-sided polygon. If needed, these geometric modules can be connected or they can function independently as well. Thanks to the well-designed geometry, the units create little gardens, courtyards and other spaces where kids can play in a safe and inspiring environment. The modular nature has another benefit: based on future needs, elements can be added or removed without affecting the main architectural idea.

Although the kindergarten is a relatively new concept in Colombia, there’s a growing need for such initiatives. Without kindergartens parents are unable to care for their children during the day so they had to leave them with a neighbor or relative. This new kindergarten is a proof of the city’s ongoing revitalization and a beautiful answer to the high vulnerability of children in this city and region.