Nursery and Communal Premises

The new building includes a family day care of three units with a kitchen and communal facilities. The areas of the nursery will be managed by the SIVOM Val de Banquière and the communal premises by the municipality. The access to each part of the program must be distinct. The dye is cast, it is a mix of program and management in a single project.

Not far around the city of Nice, the village of Tourrette-Levens is perched on the heights of the hinterland. The proposed site is below the village. The topography has two different slopes: a steep slope to the wild vegetation in the upper part and a false-flat shape parking at its lower end. It is bounded above by a road that overhang it and below by a path. From the road, one can discover the view of the valley and surrounding mountains that wrap the locality. Our response must reinforce this image and properly built the place.

We took advantage of the natural slope of the land to manage the programatic mix on two distinct levels. The communal spaces are distributed from the level of the road and open fully to an outdoor public space. Cantilevered over the ground floor, the volume of the room stands out for its material and its moldings. It contains the program related to early childhood. The false-flat shape parking and the outside staircase provide access to the nursery and is a link between the two levels. The delivery access is at the opposite. The building is anchored to the bottom of the slope of the hill. It absorbs some of the slope of the land. It participates in the site design. Its roof planted and cut by three colorful patios becomes a natural extension of the surrounding landscape. Noticeable from the high road, it assumes its role as the fifth facade.

The feasibility study proposed the establishment of a stretched building, on three levels, with schoolyards open to the surrounding. This typology didn’t correspond to our idea of childhood. Our intention was to provide protective and protected areas for the comfort and safety of children but also for the tranquility of the parents. This research to internalize spaces has led us to propose a spatial device that functions as an enclosure. The general volume is a compact parallelepiped in the thickness of which the introduction of three patios bring light and allows a natural ventilation of the round local devices. Two patios are dedicated to outdoor spaces for children. The size depends on the year of nursery school: the smaller that are limited in their movement because of their young age have an outdoor space, while second and third year kids who perform the same activities share a larger outside. In this sense, instead of opening up to the landscape like a standard schoolyard, these places open to the living units. The surrounding space is “behind the scenes”. The third patio though two levels to conduct light to the rooms on the ground floor. The façade with opaque print is covered with a skin of perforated concrete that lets in natural light coming from the outside.

Imagining a pole of early childhood, we wanted to offer generous and sequenced areas where light penetrates in order to remove any impression of anxiety, giving parents time to come and separate from their child. Admission is drawn as a large hall. This is a real meeting place bathed in natural light from yards and the central patio dug on both levels. The color is a structural element of the architectural project, is not there to entertain. Cool colors for communal spaces and warm color palette for local early childhood. In the interiors, the color is guarantor of metamorphosis and atmospheres. In the intermediate spaces, as the sheltered entrance and the patios, it materializes the relation with the outside, and demarcate areas. A landmark for the children, a color is assigned to each unit.


Project Type




  • Heams-Michel Architectes