幼儿园是孩子们在成长过程中第一个接触的公共空间。空间的尺度、使用的灵活度以及室内的场景和氛围，对于幼儿的感受和认知都有很大影响，对于建筑师也是一个挑战。设计要能激发孩子们探索和学习的兴趣，同时要给他们足够的安全感，要有家的感觉。在调研期间，设计团队也发现，非正式空间－如活动室前的走廊 – 往往是孩子们生活、交往、嬉戏的重要场所。
A kindergarten is the first public space that children encounter outside of their homes. Scale, flexibility, and spatial atmosphere play an important role to shape children’s emotional and cognitive development. They also present challenging tasks for the architecture to inspire children to explore and learn while feeling safe and comfortable. During the initial research, the design team found that informal spaces such as corridors in front of the activity rooms often become an important place for children to inhabit, interact and play.
▼鸟瞰图，aerial view ©陈颢
In designing the Vanke Experimental Kindergarten, the precarious balancing of program, space and context were of the primary concerns. Located in a long and narrow triangular site with the elevated Middle Ring Road and a river to the south, high-density high-rise residential buildings to the north, a vehicular bridge to the east, and to the west, a regional circuit room to be housed on site. To create a full-time public kindergarten of 15 classes that matches the strict requirement of the education bureau while responding to the various constrains of the context, the unique site becomes a particular challenge. The architect is not only expected to fulfill the project brief, area requirements, planning and safety regulations, but also to create a new campus that is appropriately designed for teaching and management while encouraging children’s exploratory psyche and fulfilling parents’ expectations.
▼幼儿园位于一个狭长的三角形地块，the project is located at a long and narrow triangular site ©陈颢
▼东侧的三角形围合空间和活动场地，the enclosed triangular area and playground in the east side ©陈颢
▼体块的多种尝试，various schemes for massing
▼空间策略1：架空形成活动场地，space strategy 1: elevate the volumes to create playgrounds
▼空间策略2：内廊+中庭空间，space strategy 2: internal corridors + atriums
▼空间策略3：屋顶露台活动空间，space strategy 3: rooftop playground
At the beginning, the team had tried various schemes, from compact form, to cluster of volumes, and courtyard typology. While reviewing the design, Mr. Liu asked a crucial question: “What is the best strategy for this very site?” Eventually, it went back to solving the essential problem of tackling with the site itself and the surroundings. The final scheme is a serially connected four volumes of space, each loaded with different programmatic spaces and connected by exterior platforms with views towards outside landscape. The curve-roof three-storey volume vaguely resembles the universally famous cartoon character Thomas train, passing through the site and carrying children’s imagination into the future.
▼结合了弧形屋面的建筑形态宛如孩子们都喜欢的托马斯小火车，the curve-roof three-storey volume vaguely resembles the universally famous cartoon character Thomas train passing through the site ©陈颢
The triangular site is wider to the west and narrower to the east. The playground is set on the east side which faces the noisy intersection and acts as a transition between the street and kindergarten. The building volume accommodates the linear layout of the site, and adopts a central corridor for a more compact layout. The rooms are distributed on both north and south sides, and in the middle there are three triangular atriums gradually expanding from west to east. The activity rooms, bedrooms and offices are located in the south side with better sunlight and views. Other supporting functional spaces, including the foyer, special activity rooms, stairways, toilets, etc., are arranged on the north side adjacent to the main road. The north and south volumes are divided into four sections, and each section makes a little different twist to respond to the urban and landscape contexts.
▼北立面亲和的街道界面，the north elevation friendly facing the street ©陈颢
▼从南侧河岸遥望幼儿园，south elevation alone side the river ©陈颢
The north elevation facing the street respects the urban context while maintaining a sense of playfulness. The external fence wall recedes back at multiple locations from the site boundary and leaves residual spaces for passer-bys as well as parents waiting for picking up, while sharing the green spaces with the city. The fence wall is not only designed as safety measure but also as a buffer between building and street, creating pleasurable views for pedestrians and forming a positively continuous interface.
▼位于北侧的主入口，围墙向内转折留出等待空间，the main entrance in the north recedes back from the site boundary and leaves residual spaces as waiting areas ©陈颢
▼主入口小庭院，courtyard at the entrance ©陈颢
For the higher view of the architecture, the stairwells which are frequently used by everyone as a utility space but easily neglected as a design feature, are articulated here as a distinct visual form. The curving wall of the multifunctional hall terminates the north elevation and acts as a transition to the outdoor playground. In the coherence of heights and materials, the north side interface regulates the rhythm of the street and avoids the tension caused by the continuous volume in the narrow space. With the high-rise residential buildings at the front, the kindergarten creates a friendly scale for the pedestrians and children alike, extending the approachable interface and appropriate scale of the interior space onto the street.
▼齐整但不失活跃的北立面，楼梯间作为独立的语汇，the stairwells are articulated as a distinct visual form in the north elevation ©朱思宇
The design places one office cluster and three teaching clusters on the south side towards the river. And despite the narrow site, a linear green space is set aside between the building and the fence wall. The volume on the east turns an angle to get the best natural sunlight and the pleasant view, forming a half closed triangular space connected to the playground with a dynamic outdoor staircase in between, connecting all three floors with the outdoor playground. The south side of the volumes are connected by outdoor corridors and platforms, allowing the surrounding landscape to penetrate into the buildings. Part of the ground floor and of the second floor and third floor were designed as covered outdoor play spaces.
▼半围合空间、室外楼梯和东侧的运动场地，a half closed triangular space connected to the playground with a dynamic outdoor staircase in between ©朱思宇
▼活动室北立面，activity room facade ©朱思宇
▼南侧的体块之间由室外走廊和活动平台相连，the south side of the volumes are connected by outdoor corridors and platforms ©陈颢
▼底层架空，增加活动场地，parts of the ground floor were designed as covered outdoor play spaces ©陈颢
▼位于建筑体量之间的室外活动场地，outdoor playgrounds between volumes ©陈颢
▼二层南侧的半室外活动场地，semi-open activity space on the second floor ©朱思宇
Three triangular atriums are formed in the middle and the sizes gradually increase from the west to the east. Respectively, the small triangle for the office zone, the two middle for the activities zones and the large outdoor activities place in a row become the core spaces in this project. The atrium presented the children with a uniquely shaped and lit gathering spaces. The triangular skylights are set above the atriums. Sunlight penetrates through the brightly-colored openings and touches the ground floor. Walking through the corridor with changing widths, the gradual interplay of light and darkness, the faint glimpses of the exterior views and the soft light filtered by the translucent glass block wall, a unique spatial atmosphere is created. In addition to the atriums, the huge circular skylights are also presented in the multi-function hall as well as all of the activity rooms on the top floor, with natural light raining down the walls and floors.
▼主楼梯间在底层被放大，增加活动和交流空间，the main staircase on the ground floor was highlighted to create more spaces for activity and communication ©朱思宇
▼活动室前的走廊，是孩子们交往的重要场所，the corridor leading to activity rooms is an important social space for children ©朱思宇
▼二层中庭空间与楼梯间，atrium and stairwell on the second floor ©陈颢
▼柔和日光透过走廊的玻璃砖，the soft light filtered by the translucent glass block wall ©陈颢
▼中庭天窗，atrium skylight ©陈颢
In order to create playful interiors, various sizes and types of openings are created. The window modules relate to the dimension of both grown-ups and kids. The combination of different openings’ bring diverse observation experience for children and adults alike.
▼位于顶层的活动室，activity room on the top floor ©陈颢
By applying a few simple material combination, the design of the kindergarten reaches a humanistic, modesty and modern ambiance and conveys the various programs in a clear manner. Interplay of materials presents a diverse and vivid impression: the sense of Chinese ink painting on the concrete wall, the dim light from the translucent glass blocks, the oxidized effect from the titanium zinc panels, the tactile impression from the stone washed slabs. Along with the indoor color felt, wooden floors and wood veneer panels, graphic patterns for the playground, a dynamic learning environment is created to encourage creativity from the children.
▼多功能厅的木质氛围和圆形大天窗，the multi function room with wooden surfaces and huge skylights ©陈颢
▼一层平面图，1st floor plan
▼二层平面图，2nd floor plan
▼三层平面图，3rd floor plan
▼多种门窗模数，window module diagram
Vanke Experimental Kindergarten, Shanghai
Project Name: Vanke Experimental Kindergarten, Zhangjiang, Shanghai
Location: 850 Huanke Rd.,Zhangjiang, Shanghai
Site Area: 6500 sqm
Building Area: 7300 sqm
Design Stage: 2015.05-2015.12
Construction Stage: 2015.12-2017.01
Architect: Atelier Liu Yuyang Architects
Design Principal: Liu Yuyang
Project Architect: Wu Congbao
Architect on site: Wu Yaping
Design Team: Wu Yaping, Chen Han, Yang Ke, Wen Tianqi, Zhu Siyu
Scope of work: Architecture, Interior design, Landscape design
Client: Shanghai Zhangjiang (Group) Co., Ltd
Structure Consultant: Zhang Zhun, Wang Rui
E/M Consultant: Liu Tao, Yan Zhaojun, Gu Qing
Contractor: Shanghai Xinyang Construction co. LTD
Building Structure: Reinforced Concrete Frame Structure
Main Building Material: Faux Concrete Painting, Titanium Zinc plate, glass brick
Main Landscape Material: Wood veneer, felt, Composite wood sound-absorbing panels, wood floor, PVC floor
Main Interior Material: Terrazzo, plastic floor
Photography: Chen Hao, Zhu Siyu