- Clients:Hangzhou Qianjiang New City Construction Headquarters
- Engineering:Zhenfen Jin, Shaohua Li, Shengxian Chen
- Landscape:Haojun Yao, Jiangfu Li, Wenqiang Zhou, Wenjiang Li
- Electromechanical Design Team:Huoming Fang, Lujia Lin, Guoxing Zheng, Qinpeng Huang, Xiaodong Ren, Xiangqun Li, Minjie Ye, Yanxin Zhou
- Design Team:Su Wang, Yuansheng Zhang, Danhua Xu
Text description provided by the architects. Surrounded by high-density residential high-rises in Qianjiang New Town, the land use of Hangzhou Shengli Primary School Affiliated Kindergarten is quite limited, less than 3,700 square meters. However, it still needs to meet the scale of 9 classes and diverse functions. Under the strict site constraints, the architects conduct a series of design strategies to adhere to the principle of creating a space full of sunshine and vitality for children as well as the satisfaction of the functions.
Creation in restrictions
Outdoors and nature is the keyspace for children to grow up healthily. To strive for as much space for outdoor activities and reduce the shadow of high-rise residential buildings and primary school from the south, the kindergarten’s building blocks are centrally located along the eastern, northern and western red line, enclosing quiet and spacious outdoor space. As a high-frequency activity space for children, the teaching units insert the entire building block with lightly dislocated but south-facing boxes to obtain the sunshine as long as possible.
To deal with the contradiction between functions and floor area ratio, the architects borrow space from underground and roof terraces. The auxiliary room such as kitchens is arranged in the basement, with skylights, high side windows, sinking courtyards to fully meet the needs of ventilation and lighting. The roof terraces in the first and second story serve as the safe outdoor venue for children.
Space of the Light and Shadow
Through the design of light and shadow, the architects try to create a space that inspires children's imagination.
The main entrance foyer is an atrium full of light. Pouring from the rounded triangular skylight, the light creates the shadows through the handrails of the straight stairs. In the afternoon, the light goes obliquely from west windows into the atrium. Children can enjoy running up and down along the stairs in the atrium, chasing the shadow of change, which represents the life education concept of “inspiring the vitality of the children and promoting their endogenous development”.
In the indoor teaching room, the light through the window frame is divided into staggered rectangles, which inspires the children’s creativity. In the semi-basement activity space, three colored skylights appeal the children to look up, thinking and exploring the mysterious light.
On the façade, the randomly placed windows of different sizes convey the idea of free-form creativity. These windows are also at different height indoors, which can provide a diversity of usages of sitting, leaning or looking up with the growth of children, bringing them different insights to observe the outside world.
Three Primary Colors as the Embellishment
The architects choose the yellow, blue and green as the three primary colors from the logo of Shengli Primary School in the original Victory Elementary School, with a contrasting approach to stimulate a relaxed and vivid atmosphere.
On the overall light gray façade, the teaching unit blocks highlight the impression as floating boxes through bright three primary colors, and also make it easy for the children to recognize their classrooms. While inside the teaching units, the interior is still dominated by milky white walls and wooden floors to create a warm atmosphere. At the same time, according to the different requirements on duration, lighting, and height of the space between the activity area and the nap area, architects adopt the loft design in the height of 4.5m, contributing to the unique experience of the flowing space as well as the high efficiency of spatial utilization.
In the bright milky white indoor space, the colors are adopted as a hint for the continuation or division of the space. For example, the ground, stairs, corridors, and skylights in the atrium are connected through the blue color enhancing the integrity of the space. While the corridor windows are painted in different colors in different stories to help the children distinguish which floor they are on.
Continuous and Gradual Co-Construction Process
From the beginning of the project to the opening of the kindergarten for a year, the perfection of construction and utilization is inseparable from the continuous communication between the architects and the participants. The architects design the atrium with the straight stairs to promote the spatial cognition and experience of children, which works as the soul space and is respected by all participants through communication at the beginning. The architects also take the optimization suggestions from the clients, creating a series of blank space for users to make independent arrangement. The teachers also understand and respect the design and enhance the design by the interaction, adaptation, and adjustment of the space. They integrate flexibly the teaching, games and communication activities into the teaching unit, activity room, and even the atrium, corridors, and outdoor venues, making the children enjoy the experience and exploration in different spaces.