In Progress: Dalian Preschool / Debbas Architecture

Architects: Debbas Architecture
Location: Dalian,
Client: YIDA Group
Project Year: 2010

Drawing from the most successful examples of kindergartens worldwide, this unique project benefits from the collaborative expertise and design criteria from two early childcare professionals: the International Child Resource Institute (ICRI) based in the United States and Kinderland based in Singapore. Combining the highest standards in the world with the complex local requirements of China, the program and resulting architecture offers children one of the most unique and comprehensive environments for learning and subsequently flourishing as individuals.

activity zones diagram

Conceptually, the design establishes a dynamic, fluid language that responds to both climatic conditions as well as progressive educational goals. The design endeavors to provide a unique, youthful and stimulating environment that marks a significant, independent shift from existing kindergarten models.

Overall, our concept was to create a fluid and spiritual environment distant from the more mechanistic, rigid and prosaic late-modern designs that have come before it. We want to allow the architecture to invigorate a child’s sense of wonder and generate unique memories without resorting to theatrical stage design or applied nostalgic detailing.

Cite: P, Amber. "In Progress: Dalian Preschool / Debbas Architecture" 14 Feb 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 03 Jun 2015. <>
  • Piotrek

    Wow! That’s what I call architecture. Nicely composed.

  • How high can you fly?

    No. It’s not amazing. I don’t like the architecture like that.

  • Doug

    Very cool. Great color as well. They look like the next generation of a Mac Tower.

  • Nicholas Patten

    In Progress: Dalian Preschool.

  • chicago_g

    can’t believe somebody could compliment this one like yours!the color, material and detail of this builidng are just so thoughtless. not like a building for children at all.
    i do not know what age of children this builidng will serve, but setting up this kind of loft space, connecting 2 floors by a steep stair, might not be the safest arranement for kid.

    • Doug

      Well believe it Chicago… in any case, I still like the color and design. Yes stairs do egress up and down, but you shouldn’t worry, people like you have your children wrapped in bubble wrap and wearing helmets until they are 15.

  • submarine

    We must take measures to preserve this site of dinosaur eggs for the scientists to study.
    so many litter of dinosaur like this type in china ,let children off please.


    Interesting, strong design. Surely something to remember to, if images and photos would match quality of design ;-) Its does not take that much to show full potential of this place…

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  • Małgorzata


  • Małgorzata

    Doug, i like your /this kind of humour!:D

  • Dalian


    A Dalian local here, which is where this kindergarten building is located. It actually went up a good year ago, probably more; IIRC I saw it around a year and a half ago and thought it was an imaginative office complex.

    The kindergarten is located in Dalian’s Software Park, an Ascendas/Yida collaboration. To be more precise, it is located opposite Northern China’s first drive-thru McDonalds, the GPS co-ordinated are here if anyone wants to look around on Google Maps here’s the link:,+Liaoning,+China&ll=38.887935,121.545503&spn=0.001775,0.004689&t=h&z=18

    Ascendas are a Singapore company (perhaps that’s related to the Singapore connection) and Yida are a large China based developer, though their work varies depending whether they’re using in-house people, or just throwing their name to something and outsourcing the work.

    For some sense of perspective, a local office worker will probably earn 3000 Yuan per month, an apartment in this area will cost around 14,000 Yuan per square meter new (slightly above average for Dalian) while fees for an better than average (but not foreign owned, and less fancy building, both of which add a premium) are around 2000 Yuan per month.

    If you’re doing any Dalian or Northern China stories, email me. Happy to provide some background info. :)

  • npa

    I liked Chicago’s. I am not one to judge the architecture or how it looks as is it very subjective, and apparently the client and the authority like it in this case. But I noticed the orientation of the building(s) was something to be critical about. Dalian is Northern China where it snows and windy in the winter. Sun is a much needed and sought after during the snowy or cold winter months. And in this case, the architect had failed.

  • d.teil

    always interesting to read the opinions about a certain project on archdaily. and if a rendering is just beautiful, the comments are just positive…………….

    ok. for me as an architect which is working in china i would say immediately: typical chinese architecture.

    why? it’s too huge! this is a kindergarten for children. their age will be around 2-6. the scale can not be right.

    they would need a one floor to maximum 2 floor building. and certainly they do not need a double floor.

    at the age of 5 you see everything much more bigger as you would be 15 years old.

    the language of the floorplan is fine, just the scale is totally wrong.

    this will be probably not the mistake by the architects, just the clients demand is (almost )always like this in china.

    make it bigger, taller………….

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