Since 2013, GOA has successfully completed four educational projects in Zhoushan city, Zhoushan Greentown Yuhua Kindergarten is one of them. Located in Changzhi Island, Dinghai District, Zhoushan Municipality, the Yuhua Kindergarten is designed for children who are between 18 months and 6 years old within 18 classes. In this project, GOA undertook the integrated design of both architecture and landscape.
Under conducted sufficient project research on children’s behavioral patterns with the teaching management team, architects design the kindergarten as a public space with interweaved paths for children's active nature. The circular flow line unites classrooms and office spaces into a whole, creating an interesting walking experience.
All classrooms distributed on three floors are arranged on the south and east sides of the site. The indoor and outdoor spaces of the building are connected by terraces on each floor, forming generous outdoor playing areas.
The winding paths connect the whole building to allow children to run and play in a circular route in the entire park without turning back. Various forms of vertical circulation space are full of fun, waiting for children to explore and discover independently. One path leads to the roof, providing an overlooking perspective for children to observe the island.
The classroom building provides teaching areas with diversified themes, including toy-bricks, ocean, baking, and drama. Classrooms are mainly distributed at the junctions, offering different arriving routes, improving circulation efficiency and bringing a more positive impact on teaching by facilitating children's curiosity for novelty.
The transparent interface introduces the courtyard landscape to the interior to enhance the spatial openness, not only making the child-care more efficient for teachers but also allowing children to enjoy outdoor landscapes from a lower perspective that fits their heights.
The dynamic architectural form and circulation system are organically interweaved within each other to encourage a variety of teacher-child interactions and support personalized teaching demands. The entire space is like an enlarged Naughty Castle that children are fond of.
Generative teaching refers to paying full attention to the diversity of teacher-child interaction and the complexity of the teaching environment. Its core requirement for the teaching environment is to provide changeable spaces that facilitate rich experiences.
Architects hoped to create a space that supports generative teaching and inspire children to explore independently and harvest fantasy experiences in the real world.
Simple spatial form with a vibrant color tone induces a sense of comfort and provide flexible spaces for different teaching demands. The concept of reality and fantasy, playing and learning are not diametrically opposed here, but naturally happening and mutually transforming.
The common goal of architects and kindergarten leaders is not limited to only provide toys for children in the kindergarten, but to guide children to experience the rich environment by exploring the space, light, and materials with their own bodies.
The themed classrooms at the corner of each public space are designed with natural light that signals space transition and time change. Children are encouraged to become active explorers and constructors rather than the teaching objectives.
For Zhoushan Greentown Yuhua Kindergarten, GOA led the integrated design of both landscape and architecture. The design team focuses on the needs of children's social communication, creative cognition, and entertainment. The project makes full use of the integral organization of architecture and landscape to build an ecological, natural, lively, diverse, and multi-dimensional activity place.
The enclosed layout of the kindergarten forms a small playground at the heart, forming a gathering place for teachers and children while providing an introverted space for efficient child-care. The elevated entrance on the ground floor enhances the openness and brightness of the interface.
The corridor under the eaves and the stilt space on the first floor act as a link, connecting a series of functional venues and uniting the entrance, playground, and peripheral activity spaces into a whole, eliminating the separation feeling caused by the enclosed layout. The ground organically combines various materials. It is connected by a piece of pavement with animal footprint patterns, and blends into the surrounding landscape.
The organic shapes of the landscaping greeneries and their surrounding playing equipment are custom-designed, including tree houses, climbing facilities and interactive water features, encouraging children to explore the natural environment while playing.
Based on the characteristics of children's physical and mental development such as height and the physical activity duration, architects and landscape designers focus on the implementation of site safety, functional diversity, and spatial integrity in the integrated design. Meanwhile, in the construction drawing stage, the adoption of modular design also effectively helps the cost control.
Educator Malaguzzi believes that children have great potential, and adults should provide opportunities for the children to develop their potentials. Learning occurs when children try to construct, communicate and understand. With that in mind, Zhoushan Yuhua Kindergarten is dedicated to protecting the buds of beauty, creativity, potential, and ambition in every child's heart with a generative space that allows for sufficient exploration.