The nursery is within the University of Southampton Science Park and is set within mature landscaping, the majority of which is part of a group tree preservation order. Accordingly, the principles behind the design were to ensure that it minimizes the impact upon the existing landscape and sits comfortably within its setting, whilst being visible for its users.
The building is single storey with an angular mono-pitch roof which is at its highest where it faces the road. It utilises a palette of tactile materials such as timber cladding and red stock brick, together with small areas of off-white render which act as a highlight to the main entrance.
The building is designed to be stimulating for the children by having spaces and windows at different heights. A seat is built into the horizontal window adjacent the main entrance to offer a place for the children to wait for either their parents or nursery staff when entering and leaving the building.
There is a lightwell above the peg space in the heart of the building to maximize the use of natural light and ventilation. This central area is used as a drop off and pick up point, gathering point and communal area for the whole nursery.
The nursery won the education category of the Royal Institute of British Architects Downland Prize 2011.
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