Animals and Architecture: Day Nursery of the Giraffe

Giraffe Childcare Center by Hondelatte Laporte Architectes

Giraffe Childcare Center by Hondelatte Laporte Architectes

Giraffe Childcare Center by Hondelatte Laporte Architectes

Earlier this week, we talked about a new ice skating rink in Liége that ended up taking a lot of inspiration from a whale. So much so, that the architects included images of an explicitly whale-shaped carwash from the 1950’s.  It made me wonder about other  projects and their relationships to animals; the next day I came across this new childcare center in France with a giant giraffe standing through its middle.

Designed by Hondelatte Laporte Architectes, the childcare center stands in the suburbs of Paris. The building is organized into three different stories, and the third has a large cantilever that is supported by the bright yellow legs of the giraffe. But the giraffe is not alone, there is also a polar bear and a flock of birds that help animate the program of the project.  The interior is bright and well-organized, but the most exciting feature of the new daycare is still the urban-scaled animals. So is this really… appropriate?

Giraffe Childcare Center by Hondelatte Laporte Architectes

The new project is next to Jean Nouvel‘s Tour Horizon, and it may be telling that the giraffe is looking away from the work of France’s most celebrated living architect.  But this is a daycare center and the kids that will use the building are probably a lot more excited by a giant giraffe than the details of the building next door.  These animals may be dismissed as whimsical gimmicks, but they’re making kids excited to be interacting with architecture. Who can besmirch an architect for that?

Alex Dent

January 11, 2013 / By

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