The international competition on invitation for the extension of Fondazione Reggio Children (The Reggio Children Foundation) – Loris Malaguzzi Centre is organised and finalised to enlarge the existing building in Santa Croce quarter, a former industrial area, today emblematic of Reggio Emilia renovation, behind the city railway station. In addition to the specification to integrate new spaces into the pre-existing building and area, it is the characteristics of the Reggio Emilia Approach which prompt the guidelines for the consultation, A school as a learning community promoted by the Reggio Children Foundation – Loris Malaguzzi Centre in partnership with the Municipality and Istituzione Scuole e Nidi d’infanzia del Comune di Reggio Emilia (School and Nursery Institution of the Reggio Emilia Municipality). Among the key principles of the educational philosophy: the plurality of languages, the creativity of children, collective staff work, the importance of an experience-based environment and family involvement.
In the competition first phase shortlisted designers – 70°N arkitektur, Francesco Librizzi, Giancarlo Mazzanti, Carlo Ratti Associati, Ecosistema Urbano, Raumlabor and ZPZ Partners are invited to join a workshop organized by Luca Molinari and Simona Galateo in order to understand the needs and prerogatives of the site and in view of a new course created as a single unit for 3 to 11-year-olds, an additional part of the programme for the 3 classes of the state primary schools that are already in Via Bligny.
The winning project by Ecosistema Urbano ideally extends the line of the existing building with a dialectic interaction between old and new spaces. The work is valued for the essential materials which truly represent the function of the building with all its internal systems and installations. The solution offered by Madrid architects conceives the new building as a collective experiment to confront on sustainability and ecological compatibility, with the children themselves as active subjects. In addition, the construction techniques allows for further developments to be implemented in time, on the basis of the educational programmes, thus making the construction of the building itself a process more than a destination.