Kindergarten in a Community
Open Kindergarten is a part of the amenities for the Daniufang housing community for relocated population. Completed in July 2021, with a site area of 4,300 square meters, this facility will accommodate 12 classes of 360 children.
Without being confined in their own classrooms only, children need space shared between different classes and levels for collective activities that will help them develop their social abilities and learn to be members of a community from an early age.
The south side of the project site is next to a street, the east and north sides are surrounded by high-rise residential buildings of the Daniufang community, and the west side, apart from more high-rise residential buildings will be a public green space to be built in the future. The site is enclosed by residential areas, with strict requirements on various set-backs. Therefore, we arranged the building programs in a fan-shaped layout, with the children's living space facing the direction of the public green space with optimal sunshine. The auxiliary rooms are facing the relatively quiet east and north. Meanwhile, the roof is used as a green area to supplement the deficiency of the ground green space. A terraced amphitheater on the roof brings natural light from the south to the multi-activity room on the north side.
Out of considerations of class size, safety, and health, the conventional kindergarten design typically adopts the closed class unit model. However, this kind of design is often not conducive to the comprehensive growth of children's bodies and minds. Our goal is to turn an entire floor into the live/activity area for every child.
On each floor, rooms are arranged around a central public space, onto which the class units can open with a series of partition-doors. When the weather is not agreeable, a whole floor can be fully opened and becomes a singular large room. Inside a class unit, auxiliary rooms are also open to the extent the usage would allow and the midday nap area is integrated into the activity space.
The public space in the middle of the floor has a free plan with an atrium, a skylight above, and a multifunctional staircase that doubles as a small theater. Children are here to talk, play, perform, etc., developing their sense of community and social awareness at the same time.
The kindergarten consists of three floors. The windows of the twelve living units are distributed according to daylight conditions offering each room the best results in terms of daylight and orientation while creating a sense of formal rhythm on the building facades.
The kindergarten's six volumes are all connected by semi-outdoor curvilinear balconies, for their enclosure, we chose a round hollow-out concrete block to bring rich light and shadows to the interior.