The project is located at Sha Cheng, the center of Hualai city in the province he Hebei, China. 120km way from Beijing and at an altitude of 550m above sea level, the site is at a place where there are great mountains, nice air and extremely bright sun. The place is also famous its frequent and heavy wind. Instead of a single kindergarten, the project is actually a kindergarten complex consists of a kindergarten, a education center for children and residence for teachers.
▼建筑外观，external view of the building
Complex programming and spatial organization
The design began with the intention to put together the above-mentioned programs into a unity while maintaining its operational independence. We introduced a continuous volume that meanders on the site to divide up the site into various zones specific for different functions. The education center, which are open to the general public, were put on the north of the site to allow maximum public access to the main street with heavy traffic. Main entrances of the kindergarten were put on the east side of the site, facing a minor street with less traffic. Residences were put on the west side of the site in order to receive the best sunlight.
▼鸟瞰图，建筑体量代替围墙组织不同功能，bird view, space is divided by functional volumes
The building masses in brown houses programs with less publicness such as classrooms, residences, offices and utility spaces while the building masses in white house public spaces that connects other programs. With the interwoven volumes of the brown and the white building masses, courtyards at various scales were inserted into the building at various locations such as entrance courtyard, delivery back court, side courts and etc. These courts performs as layers of buffer zones that mediates between the exterior and the interior spaces and established spatial sequence entering the building. Pragmatically speaking they also provided outdoor playground for kids in the summer and also allowed sufficient natural lighting into the rooms.
▼幼儿园建筑外观，external view of the kindergarten building
▼不同体量之间通过内部庭院和楼梯联系，光影效果丰，富different volumes are connected by inner courtyards and stairs, creating impressive light shadow effects
Blurring of circulation and communication spaces
Since the project is located in northern China, it is particularly important to address the issue of playground spaces for kids during the winter season. Instead of providing an outdoor playground, we proposed a 6-meter-wide-and-80-meter-long linear space that performs as an indoor multi-purpose playground for children and teachers. The conventional idea of small corridors were eliminated and substituted for a communal space that encourages communication and visual and audio connections. This linear multi-purpose playground connects all the classrooms in the kindergarten and up across all three levels through atriums. Kids can perform all kinds of activities ranging from badminton, dancing to riding bicycles. Along the two sides of this big linear playground, niches were created to provide space for kids to crawl, sit or read.
▼宽敞的大厅形成室内操场，spacious lobby becomes an interior playground
▼作为多功能活动空间的开放走廊，open corridor as a multi-functional space
▼模型，多功能走廊，model showing the multi-functional corridor
Considering that large scale of architecture would cause pressure to the children, the architects implant small scale boxes on the walls which provide climbing space for the children.They could put their shoes in the small cabinet at the oringe wall outside the classroom as well as taking a rest on it.
▼符合儿童尺度的家具设计，furniture design corresponded with the children’s sclae
▼一层平面图，first floor plan
▼二层平面图，second floor plan
▼三层平面图，third floor plan
t info and credits:
Project name: Raffles Kindergarten
Project location: Huailai, Hebei
Floor area above ground：10044㎡
Floor area underground：550㎡
Ground floor area：3555㎡
Programs: Kindergarten(15 classrooms), Eduction center for children, Teacher residences
Structure: Reinforced concrete
Design firm: Interval Architects
Scope of design: Architectural design, Interior design, Landscape design
Principal architect: Oscar KO, GU Yunduan
Team: Oscar KO, GU Yunduan, LIU Wentian, HUANG Jin, FANG Hanqi, GONG Yujie, QI Lihui, DONG Hang, CHEN Xin, KONG Min, YANG Shiyu
Client: Raffles Kindergarten
Collaboration design institute: Zhangjiakou Zhongtian Architectural Design Limited
Lighting design: MIAO Hailin
Photography: GU Yunduan