The Rabbit Patch Preschool - Te Tipu - Phil Redmond Architecture & Urbanism | ArchiPro

The Rabbit Patch Preschool - Te Tipu

The Rabbit Patch Preschools are three family owned and operated preschools in Christchurch, established in 1990. The preschools are inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach, where children are viewed as capable and competent, working alongside teachers constructing their own knowledge through a process of inquiry, investigation and reflection. There is a strong focus on art and creativity, which allows the children to represent their ideas through a vast array of intelligent materials. The brief required an additional teaching space for 35 children, adjacent to the existing Preschool which would accommodate and foster these activities and philosophies.


We positioned the new building to embrace the existing outdoor play area and form a courtyard connection with the existing preschool buildings, linked to one another via pathways and ramps. The new classroom has a residential scale and materiality to fit within the existing preschool and residential context. The street aspect is intentionally reserved, its skin acting as a cognitive and physical privacy threshold


The architecture sets up the blank framework for children to engage with, which evolves as the children’s creativity takes over the space. This building is not a standalone architype, it sits between a residential home and a studio, in doing so it has a reoccurring sense of familiarity with the children.

A curved timber battened wall extends throughout the length of the building, linking spaces with its colour, shadow and textural surface. This wall delineates interior spaces, creating a sequence of connected spaces both indoor and outdoor, of different sizes and heights, and creates new spaces for new activity. 


Interior spaces make use of natural light through a series of roof lights in different shapes. Play of light and shadow is an important exploration tool for the children. Visual connections between spaces are created to allow for the interaction of the children. A pair of Ateliers form a major part of the spatial design housing joinery units which form framed glimpses through to adjacent spaces. 


The battened spine wall concludes in a triangular birds beak bay window. This space serves as an additional exploration space with an intimate scale and connections to the world beyond. The smooth curves of the spine wall are reflected in the entrance circular skylight and the mirror finished stainless steel verandas openings. The quality of these spaces are enhance beyond there seemingly pragmatic use with additional sensory experiences through light, shadow and reflected surfaces.

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