The design for “NaturAtelier” (Nature-Atelier), “SerrAtelier” (Greenhouse-Atelier) and “Teatro della lettura” (the Theatre of Reading) constitute three complementary stages of a research into educational spaces, undertaken by studio Iotti+Pavarani in 2017 with the creation of school-based ateliers in three different settings, two nursery schools in Cosenza and Assisi and one primary school in Piancastagnaio (Siena).

These projects form part of the FARE SCUOLA (School Making) initiative promoted and supported by Enel Cuore and Fondazione Reggio Children with the aim of improving the quality of the learning environment in 60 nursery and primary schools throughout Italy.

These projects thus involve the adaptation of spaces within three schools, ensuring a welcoming atmosphere is combined with elements designed to stimulate curiosity and the sense of discovery, allowing children to establish an autonomous and constructive relationship with the space, others and themselves.

The three designs have been drawn up to meet the specific requirements of the schools in which they are located. They share the same philosophy in their initial approach, seeking to generate an overall landscape, promoting dialogue between dynamic settings and a more intimate scale appropriate to the child’s first introduction. They are characterised by a use of natural materials in order to exploit their characteristic colours, textures and smells.

The design creates an organic, fluid space exploiting a unifying element which serves to both hide and reveal places to discover and live in, bringing into play both the Square (entrance hall) as well as the area dedicated to a true atelier.

The above environments are located on the school’s second floor and are surrounded by the high buildings in its urban setting. The wish to “bring nature inside” has been achieved through the use of a “ribbon” enfolding the school’s different spaces within its embrace, while at the same time redefining its proportions, enriching it with a new perspective and story-line for the children to interact with through the use of both analogue and digital tools, so generating a pleasurable sense of immersion.

The walls bounding the internal space are a kind of holed diaphragm made from natural materials (curved wood compensate, cork) whose effect is to generate a warm, intimate and vibrant atmosphere without being distracting. This back-drop is then embellished by blackboards, mirrors and supports for projectors and other equipment capable of stimulating the children’s curiosity and sense of discovery while the presence of the green vegetation overlooking the whole serves to introduce a living and dynamic component to the environment.

The Atelier is dedicated for the most part to the exploration of both painting and drawing (wax crayons, water colours, felt-tipped pens) as well as the manipulation of materials centred on the inspiration and suggestions deriving from natural objects and elements (leaves, branches, bark, pine-cones, flowers and stones), encouraging the children to interpret them through creative play involving videos and projections (overhead projectors, web-cams and slide projectors).

  • Client
    Fondazione Reggio Children with Enel Cuore Onlus
  • Project Team

    Iotti+Pavarani Architetti

  • Design Team

    Paolo Iotti, Marco Pavarani
    Giulia Piacenti, Roberto Bertani, Stefano Nicolini, Gabriele Brunettini


    Fondazione Reggio Children:
    Barbara Donnici, Elena Giacopini (responsible for pedagogical coordination),
    Marco Cingi, Oliver Forghieri, Massimiliano Massimelli (Head of communications)

  • Contractor

    Oleari Srl - Wood Interiors Company

  • Phase
  • Schedule

    2017 - Design and construction

  • Budget
    50.000 eur
  • Photos
    Oliver Forghieri