Plittersdorf The municipal housing association Vebowag has rebuilt the day-care centre in the American settlement. The tenant is the city of Bonn, the owner is the KJF from Schweinheim. The first children will arrive in December.
Building new kindergartens is not necessarily the core business of Vebowag. But if you stroll through the new facility on Kennedyallee with Marc Dittmann, the technical director of the municipal housing association, you will notice that the task was not unpleasant for him. The future four-group, but single-storey facility with the house number 115 stands on historical ground: From 1952 to 2019, the listed Montessori Kindergarten of the American Settlement was located here.
"In the end, the old building was little more than a shack, dark and environmentally a catastrophe", the expert judges what mainly the association "Rettet die Amerikanische Siedlung (RASP)" wanted to preserve. The authority for the preservation of heritage had only agreed to the demolition because of the high demand for care places in Plittersdorf.
The building has 914 square metres on one floor
Then, as now, wood is the dominant feature of the exterior appearance. "We would have had to build a substructure anyway, whether with wood or clinker didn’t matter," says Dittmann. Even here, special attention is paid to children’s needs, because the grooves are set in such a way that they cannot injure themselves while playing. "The predecessor was much smaller," the Vebowag expert comments on the house. He does not want to name any costs for the 914 square metres of building space. The city of Bonn is the tenant and rents the building to the operator, the Gemeinnützige Evangelische Gesellschaft für Kind, Jugend und Familie (KJF) at (see info below).
Once inside, the expanse is surprising. In your mind's eye, you can already see cars and mini racers whizzing through the long corridors. At least they would also be clearly visible to the facility management, because with an office directly at the entrance they have (almost) everything in view. "Each group is identically structured with a group, a side and a multiple-purpose rooms," explains Dittmann. In addition, there is also a facility for a small kitchen and sanitary facilities. Nice detail: there are three different taps on the washbasins for turning and pulling. "Why shouldn't pedagogy start with the taps," says Dittmann.
The new building took twelve months to construct
Vebowag had the building constructed within twelve months. The opening was planned for August 2020, the new kindergarten year. Why was the start of the Protestant Rheinkinder day care centre delayed? "The building could only be taken over by Vebowag in September," says Markus Schmitz from the municipal press office on request. The building owner himself blames it on the subcontracting: "That was sometimes problematic.
Lots of glass - with security stickers of course - creates transparency, large light shafts let the sky in. And there are no barriers. "We followed the Bonn model, where construction is carried out in such a way that children with disabilities can also be accommodated," says Dittmann. There are also no barriers. The construction of the day-care centre is a service of general interest, explains the technical director. He almost gets nostalgic, however, when it comes to a small gem: the preservationists had decided at the time that the chimney must be preserved. The new building envelope now includes it.
Modern ventilation units were also planned without corona
The fact that his company planned modern ventilation units for each group room from the outset proved to be an advantage in the Corona crisis. "They draw in fresh air, suck out used air, and at the same time we have a CO2 indicator," he describes the system. The furniture is still missing, otherwise we could start tomorrow. But as the operator KJF informs, the first twelve of 75 children will not arrive until December. The rest will follow in January. The parents should be very happy about this news and also the children, once they have started to explore the nursery and the 1500 square metres of outdoor space.
Association in the Ami settlement is still annoyed about demolition
And what does the biggest critic of the project, the RASP association, say about the result? "Despite its timber construction, the old building from 1952 was an architecturally extremely successful building and was rightly listed as a historical monument," says chairman Rolf Fischer still. After it was no longer in use, his association had always advocated that it should be renovated in accordance with the preservation order and extended somewhat so that it could be used for a three-group day nursery. Unfortunately, nobody except the Bürger Bund Bonn was prepared to seriously consider this proposal.
After all, the new building emulates the style of the demolished building in its basic features and fits in quite well with the settlement. "It could have been worse, because there were several plans for a two-storey building on this site", Fischer says.
Original text: Silke Elbern
Translation: Mareike Graepel