Brown ceramic shingles cover Nomade Architectes' village-inspired nursery near Paris

Earth-coloured ceramic tiles cover the roofs and walls of this nursery located on the outskirts of Paris, which is designed by French studio Nomade Architectes to look like a cluster of buildings (+ slideshow).

The ceramic tiles overlap like shingles to cover the individual gabled buildings that make up Maison de la Petite Enfance.

The nursery is located 35 kilometres southeast of Paris in Lieusaint, between the town centre and an outlying residential area with trees on either side.

The aim was to create a social space for parents and childminders, alongside areas for young children, prompting the Paris-based architects  to create a kindergarten modelled on a small village.

Seven gabled blocks are organised around a central corridor. The long facades and pitched roofs are wrapped in a combination of dark and light brown ceramic tiles that are intended to complement the natural setting.

Related story: COBE's Copenhagen kindergarten designed as a "village for children"

"The project takes its appearance from the morphology of the neighbouring buildings with the look of a small, friendly village, warm materials and dimensions on a human-scale," said the architects.

"The roofs are made of flat ceramic tiles that cascade down to the walls, thus creating contemporary archetypes in perfect harmony with the existing neighbourhood," they added.

Planks of timber cover the shorter, north and south facings walls. These walls are interrupted by a series of vertical windows of different heights, while openings on the longer sides of the blocks are more uniform in shape.

The central pathway runs north to south and is punctuated with patios to allow plenty of light inside the buildings.

Different areas of the programme are accommodated in each block, including a medical room for check-ups, gathering spaces for parents and child-minders, a nursery with a 40-cot capacity and a reception area.

"The function-based compartments – multiple receptions, nursery, shared spaces and an administration area – are rather like small houses forming a village around the main road," said the studio.

"According to their use, the spaces gather into different and identifiable entities in the spirit of small, independent houses."

The main communal area is located on building's southern side with access to the gardens, while the nursery opens eastwards towards a wooded area.

Shared space is located on either side of the concourse, near to the nursery and the multi-reception area.

Administration facilities occupy the northeast corner and are connected to the entrance hall. This administrative hub houses the offices of the principal, vice-principal and secretary of nursery.

There are also four activity rooms, which each have access to the gardens.

Inside finishes are kept simple. All of the walls are painted white and the floors are covered with white tiles.

Danish firm  COBE  also created a kindergarten designed to function as a scaled-down village , with buildings of varying heights and purposes set within a landscaped area.

Photography is by Patrick H Müller.