LocationYinchuan, Ningxia, China
Design TeamYang Shi, Shaojun Li, Yifei Mi, Xin, Li Dijin, Li Cui, Li Bixuan Sui
Text description provided by the architects. With the change of educational concept in contemporary Chinese families, expectations for their children are not only limited to their accumulation of knowledge, but also hope that they can learn from intimate relationships, good habits and good personality in their growth.
With the change of the concept of education in contemporary Chinese families, parents' expectations of their children not only limit their accumulation of knowledge, but also hope that they can learn to enlighten creation, intimacy, good habits and sound personality when growing up. It drives the transformations of kindergarten management mode, which call for the new design of kindergartens.
Located in Yinchuan city of northwest China, the Kornerstone International Academy is a sister school of United Christian Academy, which is one of the best k-12 schools in southern California. Mrs. Maywan Krach, the Chinese-American director of kindergarten teaching, promote education as a "marathon" which originated from the United States and combined with the characteristic development of Stepping Stone's advanced preschool education system in China. She advised that learning process could be beneficiaries of lifelong, and easily stand on the starting line in the process of perceiving life.
As the neighborhood of the site is full of high density housing, the architect hope that the kindergarten can bring light and shiny color to the community blocks. On the one hand, the architect set up a series of vertical lattice window on the building facade, which is a way of relaxing the strong light of the northwest China, and brings in more mild light to the interior space. On the other hand, the activities inside the kindergarten vaguely foil the skin of the building facade, and make the whole building much lighter.
With 25 classes and an early education center, the interior space functions as a large preschool. The architect tries to break through the conventional education functional division eg, defining the classroom as learning area, the bedrooms as sleeping area, the playground as exercise area and so on. Moreover, there is no excessive aesthetic burden in bold colors, but preferring to use natural earth color and environmental friendly material.
The entire southeast level of the kindergarten is a multi-functional hall, and also a shared space open to neighboring community and the public during weekends and festivals. Parents are invited to participate in it. Architect make uses of the staircase space, which composed of different kids’ devices, such as slide, trampoline, climbing, and peekaboo, etc, to form a large sculpture installation. Children could play games spontaneously. At the same time, it is also the visual focus in this large space, and teachers and parents can observe different groups of children’s activities of children.
In addition, the second and third floor is the teaching space. While adopting strict safety protection system, it pays attention to excavating the potential of public places, increasing the number of children gathering spaces, to maximize the internal mobility of the building. The hallways of the classrooms are set with rounded corners for reading, and children can choose either arch in different directions for entering. It turns every possible corner into an interactive system of game experience and physical exercise at any time, not only to stimulate children's interest in reading, but also greatly increase their opportunities to interact with different grades.
What is a kindergarten? Kindergarten is not an amusement park, but a natural, real, simple and comfortable place for children to feel, learn and grow. The design consists of warm, soft and light elements: natural wooden materials, indoor cabins, and flexible lighting treatment. In the evening, when the light comes out of the house, the partition of the facade and the opening of the windows make the kindergarten as translucent shining body lighting up the corner of this northwest city.