Construction has begun on MAD Architect’s “Courtyard Kindergarten” in Beijing. Located on the site of a traditional siheyuan courtyard dating from 1725, MAD’s proposal sees a new building inserted to protect the surroundings, and reinvigorate the existing buildings into use.
The courtyard will be surrounded by a “dynamic floating roof” offering a “multi-layered urban narrative, where old and new co-exist.” The rooftop element is envisioned as a “place full of magic – a playful escape for the children that is a symbol of freedom and endless imagination.”
The new addition adopts a low, gentle posture, creating a colorful playground for outdoor sports and activities. The southwest side features an undulating surface of hills and plains, forming a playful landscape of high and low terrains.
Beneath the roof, the kindergarten’s interior contains open-concept teaching spaces, a library, small theater, and gymnasium. The open nature of the space lends to “a free and inclusive atmosphere” for 400 children. The positioning of the learning space, opening towards historic buildings, offers alternating views of old and new throughout the scheme, allow children to deepen their understanding of time and dimension.
The form of the scheme was also heavily influenced by the need to respect and envelope three ancient trees on the site, from which MAD have created outdoor spaces to flood the interior with natural light.
There is a saying in old Beijing when children are naughty: ‘if you go three days without being punished, the roof will cave in. My ideal kindergarten is not a theme park, or a place of shelter. It should be objective and real, but go beyond reality and provide some space for the unknown and imagination.
-Ma Yansong, Director, MAD Architects
The scheme is currently under construction, with the scheme expected to open in autumn 2019.
Principal Partners in Charge: Ma Yansong, Dang Qun, Yosuke Hayano
Design Team: He Wei, Fu Xiaoyi, Xiao Ying, Chen Hungpin, Yin Jianfeng, Zhang Long, Zhao Meng, Kazushi Miyamoto, Dmitry Seregin, Ma Yue, Huang Jinkun, Ben Yuqiang, Chen Luman
Client: Yuecheng Group
Executive Architect: China Academy of Building Research
Interior Design: MAD Architects, Supercloud Studio
Signage Design: 2X4 Beijing
Landscape Architect: ECOLAND Planning and Design Corporation
Façade Construction: Beijing Jangho Curtain Wall System Engineering Co., Ltd.