We were commissioned to design a new full-day kindergarten on a square site of 2400㎡, which can hold 12 classrooms for 360 children. Generally, standard kindergartens in Shenzhen give each young student an average land area of less than 8㎡. The site is limited between high-rise buildings on both of north and south sides, with a city park on the east and a technical school on the west. We were originally inspired by children’s paintings collected from a public class we gave to the neighborhood. Their paintings delivered wishes for having hills, tents and grasslands in their future kindergarten.
The main building of Small Hill Kindergarten is combined by four grand arch tents and three flat terraces. The tents consist of four interconnected arched spaces for various classes, including music, art, crafts, and sports. The north and south sides of each arch are transparent, introducing the surrounding natural landscape into the interior. During daytime, the arched spaces produce changing light and shadow effects with sun as an attractive maze of light. The terraces are a series of three-dimensional floating platforms, which are connected by long gentle ramps and spiral stairs. Rather than staying inside standardized classrooms, our design encourages children to spend more time outdoor. Especially the round 150-meter running track through arches will become the favorite place for kids.
The steel structure of the building makes the space much lighter and more transparent than concrete structure. We applied natural bamboo slabs for inner skin of the arch tent, and developed a special terrazzo mixed with sea sand to make outdoor floor soft and non-slippery. For the city full of concrete jungle, the small hill kindergarten would also become a unique urban landscape.
Project Video https://vimeo.com/398731598/55cfd067da