- Mechanical And Electrical Consultant: MAA Engineering Consultants (Shanghai) Co., Ltd
- Client: Shanghai Beibeijia Olion Kindergarten
- Design Team: Shen Zhuang, Haochen Zhang, Lide Li, Hongbang Chen, Xinhui Ding, Zixiao Wang
- City: Baoshan
- Country: China
Text description provided by the architects. Olion Kindergarten, formerly a disused community service center on Baoju Road in Baoshan District, locates next to a kindergarten and an experimental high school, surrounded with a large number of suburban residences. As one part of the urban background, the external image of this community service center is banal, the internal space is regular. Such a common or even dull building is to be transformed into a lively and vibrant kindergarten.
The original office building needs to be cleaned up and reorganized to accommodate a new kindergarten. The layout should be as compact as possible to provide enough classrooms. In order to catch the tight schedule, it would also be wise to avoid noteable change of its original structure and complicated decoration. Therefore, the designer decided to start from the section, hoping to apply a special ceiling form to create new spatial experience.
The ceiling was categorized into two types, with or without suspended ceilings to achieve different scale experience in one space. For kids, the space under low ceiling is suitable for playing games alone, while the space under high ceiling creates a common atmosphere where teachers and children can sit around and carry out activities. These changes of varying height and width vitalize the original neutral space and make it more lively, interesting, full of rhythm and tension.
The ceiling decoration is logically controlled in varying height, and according to the original building condition, the arrangement of equipment pipeline, and the logic of internal space function, etc., the renovation design takes every corner into consideration. The partition wall facing the hallway is connected with the ceiling area, which is completely open above 2.2m, and the non-ceiling area projects into the ceiling as “antennae”. Each classroom is like a “small house”. Although stay in the indoor corridor, people suddenly have the illusion of being out.
The new color scheme for façade is a collage of color of same color blocks in different brightness, breaking the original facade composition following floor levels. In the evening, when light comes on, the overlapping of these three scales is very clear. The element of the color block extends to the outdoor activity field, divides the game activity area. A new continuous corridor shelters people from wind and rain, stretching into the surrounding landscape, integrating the former isolated building with the environment.
Thanks to the unique ceiling system, structural engineering was naturally integrated with the architectural design. Because the architect aims at the spatial adjustment instead of pure interior decoration for the Olion Kindergarten. This strategy deeply roots in Atelier Archmixing’s long-term thinking, which focuses on everyday urban architecture, both as a research topic and learning object, and leads to design methods and architectural techniques. For renovating and reusing ordinary buildings, no matter to take them as "neutral existing space" or to adjust and use them in heavy or light intervention ways, the designer will always apply flexible strategies to meet varied functions. Of course, the architect knows clearly that what they have done is only one period in the full life of a building.