This is a nursery reconstructed on a sloping site in Mito, Ibaraki. For many years, the old building consisted of an insipid, flat play ground and building with little connection, despite the surrounding terrain with elevation changes. The reconstruction was based on the concept of ‘a nursery on the earth that nurtures children’s bodies and minds’, with a varied playground that makes use of the difference in elevation of the surrounding terrain, and a building that is connected to the playground to encourage three-dimension play.
The undulating playground is designed a circulation system, allowing children to devise their own ideas to continuous play, naturally increasing the amount of exercise and nurturing strong bodies. A hill and bridge in the middle of the playground directly connects the building and the playground and allows children to feel each other’s presence and voices.
In addition, a half-buried veranda-like space in the ground has play equipment such as rock climbing, swings, monkey bars, and hammocks to allow children to exercise in the open air, even when it is raining. From this point, there is a direct route into the building as well as out into the playground, creating a circulation system that includes the building.
Inside the building, steps were purposely created in various areas, such as the dining room and toilets, to create an environment where the inside and outside are integrated and where children can continue to feel a sense of nature. With the playground where children can feel the changing seasons and signs of animals and plants, and exterior wall materials that reflect the changing colors of the sky from morning to night, the building allows children to sense the changing time with the earth.