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The new Naef Educational Center for Children (NECC) building is designed to be a new venture for the Naef Spiele AG company of Switzerland. Both the building and the educational curriculum are intended to be integral parts of the facility’s unique learning methodologies. The program of the building is based on the Swiss “Kinder Grippe”, which is akin to the Montessori method of teaching. The NECC would serve children from infant to kindergarten age.

The building design is based on a modern prototype located in St. Moritz, Switzerland, designed by Blarer & Reber Architekten AG. The design of the NECC building is adapted to meet the United States’ life safety requirements, American with Disabilities Act, social expectations, philosophies, and educational needs, as well as the climatic differences found in North America. Staying true to the Swiss attitude of environmentally conscious design, this facility is designed using many North American techniques for high efficiency structures.  MINERGIE, the Swiss label for energy consumption in buildings, highly influenced the design of the building. The MINERGIE standard for sustainability is more rigorous than LEED, its U.S. counterpart. Structurally insulated panels and highly efficient window and door systems make the building envelope well insulated.  Roof-mounted solar arrays are oriented to best capture the sun throughout the day and provide electricity to the building (or to the grid when not needed by the building.) Rehau radiant floor heating and Eco-Air heat recovery systems are also planned, in an effort to attain a Net-Zero building that would ultimately give back electricity to the power grid.


  • Owner/ Client: Naef Spiele AG/ NECC
  • Selected Builder: Howard Shockey and Sons; Winchester, Virginia
  • Structural & Civil Engineer: Painter-Lewis P.L.C., Winchester, Virginia
  • Mechanical Engineer: Comfort Design Inc., Winchester, Virginia
  • Consultant: Michael Mahr – Rehau (radiant systems), Leesburg, Virginia
  • Renderings: Reader & Swartz Architects, P.C.; Winchester,Virginia