Psychologists suggest a close relationship between space and the construction of identity. And embracing diverse identities is the driving force for any creativity to happen. The new preschool interior architecture in Daijia Elementary School utilizes the composition of shapes and colors, creating a unique identity and juxtaposition in a grand-fathered homogeneous context.
Occupying the full three bays of a single-corridor functionalism institutional structure built over forty years ago, the two-unit preschool section of Daijia Elementary School is spatially defined with a clear and straightforward boundary. The necessary informality for creativity in preschool education was thus relied on furniture arrangements and displayed objects, in a way, the soft architecture. Such an add-up model may be sufficient in the analog world; it is far from enough in this highly diverse, contemporary interdisciplinary context. Striping off the old decoration, the empty shell allows an opportunity to rethink how architecture positions itself in children's education.
The existing single-corridor shell suggests a linear spatial organization. The academic units, the rabbit class, and the deer class have their designated zone at each end of the three bays shell, and the playing area is located in the middle to interlock the two sections. By separating the two teaching areas spatially, we can limit the interference between spaces under the quiet mode while allowing interactions when needed. Rather than typical partitions, fat divider systems with storage create acoustic mufflers and release extra square footage. The flexible semi-open space is curated so that the students are constantly immersed in the world of visual and physical explorations.
Like any public-school renovation project, budget and restricted schedule were the primary concerns. The design must be straightforward enough to make it easy for the contractor to follow through in the middle of the pandemic and build it quickly using limited school holidays. This project is thus geometrically simple yet color and graphic-heavy, transforming the ordinary shape into a world of fairytale. Wood cabinets and shelves are selectively colored to accent the homogenous shell. Besides furniture, all exposed surfaces were treated as the canvas. The high saturation graphics supplied by the teachers are laid over the low contrast, colorful patterned field, forming an energetic spatial atmosphere that nourishes a sense of discovery.
The teamwork between the architect, the teachers, and the contractor delivered this aesthetically pleasing yet economical renovation, fostering the incoming young generations at Daijia Elementary School in Taipei.