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Children's Day-Care Centre Heddernheim


Kupferhammer 93, 60439 Frankfurt, Germany

Kindertagesstaette HeddernheimOn the initiative of the chief of the cultural department of the City of Frankfurt/Main, Hilmar Hoffmann, and the chief of the building authority, Hans-Erhard Haverkampf, Hundertwasser was asked to plan and design a
day-care centre for 100 children in 1986. As part of a development project for the northern districts of the city, the city government donated a plot at Urselbach, a naturally restored brook on the site of an abandoned factory.

Hundertwasser’s design was intended as a contrast to the residential and administrative buildings constructed in this section of the city. The building resembles two wedges of wooded earth mounds rising out of and receding back into the plot of ground. The slanting roofs were to be planted and accessible on foot and used as a place for recreation. On the ground floor is the kindergarten section, which consists of three group rooms, a multi-purpose room and the necessary auxiliary rooms. Two day-care facilities for older children, with study and auxiliary rooms and a workroom, are on the upper floor and in the gallery storey. These rooms have direct access to the outside.

The particular choice of building materials, such as bricks, ceramics, wood, the irregularly shaped plaster surfaces, the shapes of the rooms, largely without right angles, were intended to create an imaginative and poetic atmosphere for the children.

In the summer of 1989 construction had to be stopped, because at the outset the degree of soil contamination by chlorinated hydrocarbons and heavy metals from this former factory ground of the Vereinigte Deutsche Metallwerke (VDM) had not been ascertained. Only after time-consuming soil decontamination, a process lasting several years, could construction be continued.

Hundertwasser’s original design included a gilded tower. In view of the costs, however, it was decided to cover both towers with zinc sheeting painted in blue. With a „Baustein“ (building-block) initiative in 1992 - the sale of an art print designed and donated by Hundertwasser - through a Frankfurt newspaper and „Die Galerie“, the financing of the gilding of the towers was secured.

On June 22, 1995, the cay-care centre was inaugurated in Hundertwasser’s presence.