Metropolitan Bonsai, Giant Toy Infinity Kindergarten
In an irregular land encircled by a typical villa area in Shanghai, Office Mass tries to break through the dual restriction of surrounding environment and norms through design strategies to create an ideal space in the city for children. The kindergarten looks like infinity symbol from aerial view, so it's called infinity kindergarten.
We faced the problem of how to respond to this passive site with a positive attitude - the decrease in land use efficiency caused by irregular terrain and the lack of independence brought by being too close to villa area. In the absence of interference with external conditions, the most positive attitude may be to recreate an ideal place, like a bonsai, which is clearly microscopic and partial, but it contains our expectation and imagination for the world.
As a bonsai of urban scale, it should be an idealized space, and the most important thing is to include unusual beyond daily. Unlike ordinary centralized kindergartens, architect decomposed the building into houses, corridors and courtyards. These spatial components, just like building blocks, form one infinity symbol through stacking in a loose order.
Houses rectangular units with cluster layout, are classrooms. The house unit with diagonal sloping roof unifies the two classes at the first and second floor into one mass.
The corridor connects the scattered houses in series and accommodates kindergarten's service space except the classes. We deliberately widened the circular corridor and integrated it with the outdoor space to make it a space for children to stay, meet and play.
The circular corridor and houses split the site into four different styles of courtyards - open outer courtyard, tortuous east and west inner courtyards, roof garden and tree yard under big trees, where children are free to do exercises, play, plant and climb.