What is this flower-shaped building near Caen?

The new Calvados nursery has the shape of a flower, in Fleury-sur-Orne. ©Calvados Department

Currently located in an old church in rue d’Auge in Caen (Calvados), the Calvados nursery will soon have a new cocoon. The crèche welcomes about sixty children every year.children from 0 to 6 years in great difficulty, temporarily entrusted to the department as part of its mission to protect children in danger.

Calvados Nursery Fleury-sur-Orne
The new Calvados nursery is established in Fleury-sur-Orne, near Caen. ©Grégory MAUCORPS

The new case was created on Fleury sur Orne, right next to Hawking College and the Tram Maintenance Center. A project of more than 15 years.

The site in the rue d’Auge no longer met the requirements. There was a need for a more modern and updated approach.

Jean-Léonce Dupont, department president, during the foundation stone in October 2020.
Calvados Nursery Fleury-sur-Orne
The cozy room in the children’s area of ​​the new crèche in Fleury-sur-Orne. ©Grégory MAUCORPS

Opening May 31

A year and a half later, work is underway on the new 2,200 m² nursery in the home phase. A site visit has just taken place. The buildings are being built, the outdoor games are being installed. All that remains is the finishing touches to the interior: some paintings, bedroom or kitchen furniture to be assembled…

Another month of work before we can welcome the first toddlers.

We have waited a long time, it is difficult to wait until May 31, when we will move during the day.

Delphine Mainard, director of the Departmental House for Children and Families (MDEF) in Calvados.
Nursery Calvados Fleury-sur-Orne Paul Le Quernec
The architect of the nursery of Fleury-sur-Orne Paul Le Quernec ©Grégory MAUCORPS

Children’s rooms in the petals

The new nursery has an atypical architecture, all in roundness, in the shape of a flower with five petals. “I also see inverted baskets there,” adds Delphine Mainard. This space is intended for children in difficulty: three petals of 170 m² for 0-3 year olds (18 places) and two slightly larger petals, of 200 m², for 3-6 year olds (20 places).

Calvados Nursery Fleury-sur-Orne
Games are set up outside. ©Grégory MAUCORPS

With single and double rooms. “We have the opportunity to go to 41 places in total.” Adapted toilets and bathrooms, two living rooms for each age category and a large dome like a village square also make up this sector.

It is not the form that guides our choices, but the functionality, which is why we wanted to create different units.

Paul Le Quernec, project architect.
Calvados Nursery Fleury-sur-Orne
Last straight line before work at the Fleury-sur-Orne nursery. ©Grégory MAUCORPS

This complicated architecture required a lot of innovation from entrepreneurs, such as Zinc. There was a desire to move forward with this project,” adds Delphine Mainard.

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The cost of the new Fleury-sur-Orne nursery is 8.5 million euros including taxes. The State subsidizes the project for 3 million euros, the rest is financed by the ministry. “This cost is partly financed by the sale of the current site,” explains the Calvados Departmental Council.

Innovation: housing to test the return home

The flower-shaped building is separated from the green administration building by a footbridge. It is a hyphen between the accommodation and the administrative block. We deliberately dug to create this effect of a moat and drawbridge so that the children feel safe in their space, imagining the fortified castle,” continues the architect.

Calvados Nursery Fleury-sur-Orne
A footbridge designed as a drawbridge to separate the living space of the children and the administrative and medical space of the Calvados nursery in Fleury-sur-Orne. ©Grégory MAUCORPS

Rounded fixtures in the petals and squares in the administrative building, for example, mark the distinction between the spaces. The architectural difference between the buildings has been made consciously. We considered this crumpled life of children, these bad experiences with the adult world. We wanted to differentiate, because children need protection,” says Paul Le Quernec.

Calvados Nursery Fleury-sur-Orne
Green in the administrative building of the Calvados nursery, a color that is soothing according to the architect. ©Grégory MAUCORPS

The green building will consist of administrative services, a linen room, a refectory room or a doctor’s post including doctors, psychomotricians, speech therapists and nurses. There are also four parent-child meeting points, some with an educator’s room next door to be less intrusive in parent-child contact.

Calvados Nursery Fleury-sur-Orne
F2 housing is an innovation in the new Calvados nursery. ©Grégory MAUCORPS

The new nursery also has an innovation in it: F2 housing. “This makes it possible to test the return home, for example for two days,” explains Delphine Mainard, pointing out the presence of professionals nearby to advise and help. “If a parent has been separated from their child for 6 months or a year, it is not necessarily obvious, so this gradual adjustment is a great innovation.”

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