Spa town pre-school goes green with geothermal heating

The building uses geothermal waters beneath the town to heat it in winter and keep it cool during the summer. Dominik Górecki Architekt

The building uses geothermal waters beneath the town to heat it in winter and keep it cool during the summer.

A new, environmentally-friendly preschool in south-western Poland is turning heads in the architecture and design world. Built in the spa town of Lądek-Zdrój in Lower Silesia, it is heated using local geothermal waters.  

The building comes amid rising interest in environmentally-friendly architecture in Europe, including buildings that do not rely on conventional energy sources. Meanwhile, there is growing awareness in Poland of the health threat posed by air pollution caused by burning coal – especially to children. In this context, the preschool showcases the potential of alternative forms of heating.

Commissioning the pre-school, the municipal authorities in Lądek Zdrój placed a special emphasis on environmental friendliness. Designed by architects Dominik Górecki and Szczepan Dejnek, the building uses geothermal waters present beneath the town to heat it in winter and keep it cool during the summer – all without releasing greenhouse gases into the environment.

The low pre-school building for 180 children, which includes a nursery, is built on a single level. Classrooms face south with a view of the surrounding mountains, ensuring a sunny learning environment, while other rooms occupy the cooler northern side. All classrooms have easy access to the garden, which has a playground. With an ample covered terrace, lessons can move outside, come rain or shine.  

Inside, the airy rooms with big windows are softened with natural wooden details, including child-sized furniture. The interior is deliberately sparse – children’s artwork will be the main decoration. The architects paid attention to lighting, too, with irregularly spaced fixtures designed to resemble a constellation of stars. After hours, the preschool’s main hall can transform in a space for the local community, offering activities such as dance classes – further maximising the building’s use.   

In addition to the preschool, Lądek-Zdrój is looking into more ways to use the town’s geothermal potential. If geologists’ research proves positive, the free energy could be used heat water and even swimming pools in the future.