Le Corbusier stated in his seminal text, Towards a New Architecture, that “...man looks at the creation of architecture with his eyes, which are 5 feet 6 inches from the ground.” Logical and rational codes such as this form the standard for much of architectural production - but of course, these "norms" are as constructed as architecture itself. This particular standard is especially irrelevant when designing for children, for whom the adult-centric assumptions of architecture do not and should not apply.
The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) has announced Tezuka Architects’ Fuji Kindergarten in Tokyo as the winner of the 2017 Moriyama RAIC International Prize. Established by Canadian architect Raymond Moriyama and the RAIC in 2014, the $100,000 prize is awarded every two years to recognize a single work of architecture from around the globe “that is judged to be transformative within its societal context and promotes the values of social justice, equality, and inclusiveness.”
"I feel now there is someone who understands this project well. I think it's quite a unique prize because it's about contributing to society,” commented Takaharu Tezuka. "It looks like a simple structure. But it's a layering of many ideas combined."
The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) has announced the four projects shortlisted for the 2017 Moriyama RAIC International Prize. The prize was established in 2014 by Canadian architect Raymond Moriyama along with RAIC and the RAIC Foundation to recognise buildings that are judged to be " transformative within its societal context and reflect Moriyama's conviction that great architecture transforms society by promoting social justice and humanistic values of respect and inclusiveness."
"These projects celebrate human life and shape activity," commented RAIC President Ewa Bieniecka, FIRAC. "They embody innovation, contribute to how we experience space, and explore how spaces allow opportunities for freedom. The four shortlisted projects demonstrate how architecture is generous and gives back to the community. These works have a strong sense of place and connect to their surrounding landscape."
Awarded every two years, the winning project will receive a CAD $100,000 prize and a handcrafted sculpture by Canadian designer Wei Yew. The prize is open to all architects, irrespective of nationality and location. The inaugural prize was won by Chinese architect Li Xiaodong for his design of the Liyuan Library in Jiaojiehe, China.
See the shortlisted projects, after the break.
Tezuka Architects on Their Formative Experiences, Architecture as a Cure and Finding Your Unique Wisdom
As one practice among Japan's emerging crop of talented architects, Takaharu and Yui Tezuka of Tezuka Architects can boast some highly successful projects; perhaps most notably among their collection of houses, medical buildings, and community buildings is the Fuji Kindergarten. Completed in 2007, the unusual open-air design was so successful that it earned Takaharu Tezuka a spot on stage at TEDxKyoto. In this interview from his series “Japan's New Masters,” Ebrahim Abdoh speaks to Yui and Takaharu about their formative experiences in the United States and United Kingdom, their design approach, and the unique challenges that come with working in Japan.
"When you put many children in a quiet box, some of them get really nervous," says Japanese architect Takaharu Tezuka, founder of Tezuka Architects. "In this kindergarten, there is no reason for them to get nervous. There is no boundary." Speaking at TEDxKyoto on his design for an open-air kindergarten in Tokyo, Tezuka discusses his playful and unorthodox approach to the creation of the eccentric building. The unconventional space blurs interior with exterior while accommodating a varied program of athletic, educational and relaxed space. According to Tezuka, the concept was based on a progressive philosophy employed by the school administration: "The principal says: if the boy doesn't want to stay in the room, let him go. He will come back eventually." On children, Tezuka's own philosophy is one of empowerment: "Don't control them. Don't protect them too much. They need to tumble sometimes. They need to get injured. That makes them learn how live in this world."
Former US President Theodore Roosevelt once said that play is a fundamental need — so much so that playgrounds should be provided for every child, just as schools are.
In countries around the world, architects are becoming increasingly innovative to create environments where children can explore their imaginations.
Today, playgrounds can float entirely on the ocean, or take the shape of an enormous, colorful crocodile.
Keep scrolling to see some of the best playground designs around the world that will make you want to be a kid again.