The project is located in a large residential plot in Jinjiang county-level city, bordering main city streets on the east and super high-rise residences on the north and west, which makes the site a confined irregular triangle.
Enclosure · Doughnut
The design takes “concession” as the directing strategy and focuses on relieving the confronting relation between the kindergarten and the surrounding high-rises. The volume expands along the site and unfolds around a“doughnut” central courtyard. All the classroom units and auxiliary rooms are arranged around the courtyard, which provides a secure playground for the children and a congregation spot for daily activities.
In order to avoid an oppressive visual impact on the northern apartments, the volume in the north of the kindergarten is presented along the site boundary in the form of an undulating wave-motion, which creates a buffer interface and an interesting landscape for the neighbouring residents on the lower floors, and also a dramatic enclosure for the interior.
Veranda · Playground
The 3.8m wide spacious open corridor connects the classroom units and functional rooms on each level, providing an indoor activity corridor as long as 220 meters for all the children. It replaces ordinary circulation demand with children's all-time activity space, where they can run, chase each other and play freely.
Bay window · Hide and seek
There openings in the wall facing the central courtyard come in three sizes, serving corresponding activities. There are 2,700 mm×2,700mm French windows, through which both teachers and children can see the central courtyard; via the 1800 mm×1800 mm openings 900 mm above the ground, teachers have a view of the courtyard while children can look up and see the sky; and the 1500 mm×1500 mm bay window with a depth of 900mm creates a private little space for children to hide in and share their little secrets, or simply play hide-and-seek with other children in the corridor.
These openings of different sizes create for the corridor a vibrant light and shadow effect that is constantly changing with the sun’s position, which helps establish an intriguingly rich visual experience both indoors and outdoors.
Skylight · Rainbow The designer created colourful skylights for each class unit on the third floor, expecting a splendid rainbow every morning onto the white walls of the activity rooms when the skylights are penetrated by the sunlight. These walls will become a natural colour palette for the children where they can experience changing colours and amazing patterns throughout the day.
The standard classroom unit adopts the mono-pitched roof. As far as children are concerned, pitched roofs could be the most typical and abstract expression of “house” or “home”. It is also an architectural symbol and a carrier of emotions. The various combinations of pitched roofs also contribute to a diversified visual effect, which serves as an interesting “fifth facade” of the site for the surrounding high-rise residents. For this supporting kindergarten of a commercial development project, there are naturally certain limitations and challenges in construction cost and design management. Via a simple design approach, the team tried to integrate functions with an interesting space organization, building an impressive light show with concrete volume, and creating an “unrestricted” playground for children despite multiple restrictions.