Anting is an urbanized suburban town near the boundary between northwestern Shanghai and Suzhou Huaqiao. The kindergarten located in a new residential neighborhood to the south of Anting station of Metro line 11, is an early bird in the construction plan of a public facility compound. Although a tight site to house 15-classes within 7400sqm, we still want to provide this kindergarten a courtyard environment for children to perceive nature, to recognize society and to build up themselves with a memory of courtyard life.
▼ 现代都市里拥有自然庭院的幼儿园，a kindergarten with natural courtyards in the modern city
Courtyards need enclosure of building units. Following the leaning western border of the site, we organized the units in a setback “W” shape to earn the maximum sunlight from west, south and east, and we use Hexagon for the plan shape of the unit. The honeycomb composition fits better the leaning border, it provides more dynamic indoor and outdoor spaces with sense of concentration while diluting the axis monumentality of traditional four-sides courtyard. We ended up with an irregular hexagonal unit for either classroom or courtyard. Three of the six sides were designed in equal to accommodate more flexible combination as per the needs of sunlight and functionality.
▼ 鸟瞰图，蜂巢状的建筑布局，bird view, architecture layout in honeycomb shape
▼ 六边形庭院和建筑单元，courtyards and building units in irregular hexagonal shapes
▼ 轴测图展示蜂巢状结构，axonometric showing the honeycomb composition of the architecture
Courtyard, in Chinese architecture, is not only a tradition of physical space, but also a core of emotion and communication. It helps people to keep cohesion of the family and strengthen the contacts with friends and relatives, and to connect nature and universe in a touchable way. Yet this heritage is today already an impossible dream for most of urban citizens. After entering the gate, students and teachers will follow the zigzag corridors along the hexagon edges, go through the vestibule and the lobby, pass by different classes, with flowers and grasses in layers of courtyards, with bifurcating and merging paths before approaching their own classroom.
▼ 入口大厅，天窗带来充足光照，lobby with sufficient natural light through the skylight
▼ 以庭院联系不同空间，courtyards connecting different spaces of the kindergarten
▼ 连接不同空间的走廊，木材给人以温暖的感觉，corridors connecting different spaces, wooden material providing a warm experience
The collective activity in the classroom encircles the round column in the center of the room，while a team or individuals can use the protruding window spaces along the wall to read and write or to take care of their small plants. Every two classrooms have a shared courtyard space with direct indoor-outdoor connections. Departing from their own courtyards, the kids can restart their journeys to other places including library, musical room, fine arts room, canteen, multifunction room, small farm and other classes in other courtyards. Students at 2nd and 3rd floors can also join the big playgrounds conveniently through two covered outdoor staircases from both east and west sides.
▼ 多功能厅，multifunction room
▼ 分班活动平台，platform for class activities
By connecting different interior and exterior spaces in various scales on the corridor paths, we make every outing of the kids an experience of touching “nature” and “society”. We believe that all these experiences of exploration, perceiving and communication would become part of their precious childhood memories in an unconscious and healthy way.
▼ 夜景，暖色灯光带来温馨的感觉，night view with warm illumination
▼ 总平面图，建筑呈蜂巢状组合，site plan showing the honeycomb composition of the architecture
▼ 一层平面图，first floor plan
▼ 二层平面图，second floor plan
▼ 三层平面图，third floor plan
Project name: East China Normal University Affiliated Bilingual Kindergarten
Location: Anting town, Jiading district, Shanghai
Program: 15 classes kindergarten
Site Area: 7400sqm
Structure: RC Frame, partial corridors in steel frame
Exterior Material: White paint, Transparent and translucent insulated glass, Aluminum panels, Plastic wooden floor
Client: Anting International Automobile City
Structural and MEP Design: Jiangnan Architectural Design Institution
Photographer: Su Shengliang