Kids sitting in the yard on colorful fabric and looking over the camera

Day care centre Männistö, Kuopio

High-quality, attractive facilities for early education in Kuopio

The City of Kuopio needed sustainable and cost-effective facilities to replace old day care facilities that were taken out of service. The project was also driven by the growing need for day care near the city centre. A rental model was chosen and the the new day care centre was provided by Hoivatilat.

Day care centre Männistö, Kuopio

Client City of Kuopio

Tyyppi Day care centre

Location Kuopio

Number of children 160

Completion time 08/2021

In Kuopio, special attention was paid to competitive tendering for the facilities: the call for tenders was very clear to ensure a successful solution. It was accompanied by a concept description for the day care centre, which guided the planning. For the concept, a survey was carried out in all day care centres to gain an understanding of the solutions that work in practice and, on the other hand, of the solutions that do not. This provided valuable information from day care staff about day-to-day activities and the features of the building that facilitate them.

The facilities unit of the City of Kuopio sent out a call for tenders to four contractors that have joined its framework agreement for the construction and rental of the day care centres. The tenders were compared using a score based on the price and the architectural solutions provided. The weighting ratio of the points was 60/40, with a maximum of 60 points for the price and 40 for the architectural solutions. The criterion for comparison was overall economic performance. The project was won by Hoivatilat with the highest overall score. Hoivatilat scored 37/40 for architecture, and earned an overall score of 97/100 points.

Elina Suikki was the Hoivatilat project manager during the tendering phase. She says that cooperation with the City of Kuopio was very smooth.

– Because the starting points and objectives of the tender were so well defined, it was easy for us to start tendering. This is one of our finest daycare centres: it looks great on the outside and is very comfortable on the inside. And most importantly, the facilities are functional and healthy, shares Suikki.

First-class functionality

The new, long-awaited and carefully designed facilities opened in August 2021. The day care centre accommodates eight groups and has the facilities for open-for-all early education. The Männistö day care centre is run by manager Kirsi Holopainen. She says that after the first few months of operation, the building is very much appreciated. During the planning phase, a great deal of attention was paid to work ergonomics, and we have now found in practice that we have succeeded. In terms of scale, Holopainen says that the use of the space has been very successful: the building does not feel massive inside, even if it looks large from the outside.

– In particular, the number of dividing areas has been noted by the staff as it makes it easy to organise activities in small groups with a peaceful atmosphere, says Holopainen.

The children’s comments about the gym and its versatile equipment have been particularly enthusiastic. All groups have their own gym times, and the bright and spacious space is also used for other activities in the evenings.

Modern wooden construction

The City of Kuopio’s assessment of how the building fits its urban environment was based on the idea that the new day care building was to represent the modern wooden architecture that sits nicely with the surrounding environment and buildings.

PAVE Arkkitehdit Oy carried out the architectural design for the project. Inspired by the national opus Kalevala, the day care centre was given the working name Kannel (“zither”). In fact, its playful, sculptural form is a modern interpretation of the shape of a Finnish zither. The design of both the interior and exterior spaces was based on the principles of child scale, experientialism and multi-functionality.

The façade features wood in its natural colour and the colour of red brick, as well as textured concrete. The building looks different at every corner, creating variety in the urban landscape. The day care centre creates a distinctive new architectural layer in the area and is an excellent modern counterpart to the building on the other side of the park.

Ecology, health and the principles of sustainability were the starting points for the design proposed by Hoivatilat, and they are reflected in all aspects of the building, meeting the client’s requirements for energy efficiency, for example. Sustainable, low-maintenance, recyclable and renewable natural materials were favored, as well as energy-efficient, intelligent building services solutions, such as room-specific ventilation based on carbon dioxide sensors and lighting control based on motion sensors.

The artwork on the concrete elements of the walls and plinth adds a further touch of fun. The pictures painted and printed on the concrete are drawn by children. They deepen the story of the building and describe its purpose to passers-by in a way that brings joy. The artworks were created during a ’Bring your child to work day’ at the office of PAVE Arkkitehdit. The handprint of the children of three architects can now be seen outside facing the street and inside in the staircase as part of the final result of their own parent’s work.

Construction Manager Jari Lehto from Hoivatilat thanks the City of Kuopio for the excellent spirit in which the project was carried out and is delighted with the result:

– The quality of the building is very high inside and out. The project was demanding to implement, and the result is a great success, Lehto sums up.