Text description provided by the architects. dot Architects has designed a new early learning centre for Chinese developer Vanke. The project locates in Qingdao, China. The early learning centre is on the third floor of a former sales gallery.
As the main users of the educational place will be preschool children, we are looking for something between a classroom and a playroom. Taking their active lifestyles and level of cognition into consideration, the design strategy focuses on creating an open and colourful space.
Although it is still a hypothesis, that social interaction and unstructured play are vital for children’s development. An open space is required for such activities to happen. A stage is defined as the reading zone instead of a library room. It can be used for free play during classes or as a theatre stage for special events.
We designed a scaled down children friendly house on top of the stage. The house is enclosed of wooden boxes which can be used to display books, plants or other exhibits. Children can sit and read anywhere, beside the table or on the stairs.
In order to create continuity in the space and to prevent a potential collision, the plan layout is defined with smooth curves. Two oval shaped skylights are introduced into the space to bring in the natural light, as the south facing windows are occupied by classrooms.
Classrooms are categorized under different climate regions. Each region is represented with a theme colour and its signature animals. It is a more efficient way for preschoolers to identify the classrooms than usual numbering system.
The interior of the classrooms use the same colour with a lighter shade. The furniture also has some coloured panels to make it more vivid.
As the budget for facade renovation is limited, the original curtain wall is remained with some panels replaced by the coloured ones. The entrance to the learning centre is defined by an illuminated logo.
In designing spaces for children, we prefer abstract geometry and simple visual language. We believe that children’s imaginations are more complex than any designed forms. It is better to design less to create a more imaginative space.