Colourful kindergarten in China inspires creativity through materials and identity
Init Design Office (IDO) has designed a colourful kindergarten for a residential community in Chongqing in China, aiming to inspire imagination and creativity. The design followed open-minded teaching concept of the kindergarten – embracing nature, personality development and the cultivation of children’s spirits.
The kindergarten is a place that begs to be explored – a new colour and material at every turn. The material pallette of terracotta panels, red and grey bricks, wood, laminate, cement fibre boards, and polycarbonate sheets was wide, with combinations distinct to every volume, was designed to allow children to to identify places in the kindergarten according to material and develop a sense of belonging. Translucent materials, such the polycarbonate sheets, were chosen to create colorful rhythm under the sunshine, while the roofs, finished with Al-Mg-Mn alloy unify the complex and create the illusion of a ‘snow-covered landscape’.
The Yorkville North Kindergarten occupies a fairly constrained site for its purposes of teaching: nine classrooms, with space for outdoor activities too. IDO’s main challenge was how to create a healthy, human-oriented and playful building, with all the practicalities that come with looking after children too. The team decided to layer functions vertically, making use of indoor and outdoor space and always thinking of ways to connect classrooms with nature through windows. Each classroom is its own independent volume opening up possibilities to look outside, and the volumes are arranging in a U-shaped courtyard to make the most of the surrounding landscape.
As well as the core spaces, which include classrooms, dormitories, music and sports rooms, an infirmary, there are many open-plan spaces for open-ended educational activities. A bleachers around the central courtyard could be an outdoor classroom or a space for exercise, a sloped climbing area could be used for education or play, and outdoor spaces on the roofs will inspire spontaneous activities of all sorts. Versatility was important for many reasons, and the large music and sports room can also be opened up to the courtyard or closed for a day without distractions of the outdoors.
IDO wanted to create a friendly kindergarten for the children that felt like home, while helping them to learn. They designed clever bespoke furniture pieces such as a reading desk with storage for pull out beds beneath it. ‘We hope to gradually cultivate the kids’ living habits and guide them to learn to tidy up their living and learning tools through participating in the process of furniture arrangement,’ say the architects. §