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Wabasca Childcare Centre

Coloring outside the lines created a unique childcare facility

Wabasca, Alberta

Lie on your back and look up at the ceiling. Roll onto your stomach and have a look around. Children explore the world very differently than adults, and that’s what inspired our design of the Municipal District of Opportunity No. 17’s new daycare. We approached the design from the eyes of a child. Primary learning became the inspiration for the daycare: a box of crayons and blocks of primary shapes.

The new daycare provides warm, friendly, inviting spaces. There are infant rooms, toddler rooms, and preschooler rooms, with laundry amenities and a full commercial kitchen to provide food programs for all ages.

Centered in the middle of the building is a rotunda that acts as a wayfinding and gathering space for the children. The space was so exciting that even the contractor went beyond the contract documents and painted past the paid scope of work.

This daycare design challenges the remote and economic pressures facing communities in northern climates. The single-story, flat-roof structure includes a typical metal panel wall assembly, but the metal panels are laid out in a vibrant gradient across the facade. This illustrates a fun and unique use of an otherwise standard building material, while challenging the notions that design in northern Alberta is best served by modular/prefab construction.

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