The project is located at Sha Cheng, the center of Hualai city
in the province he Hebei, China. 120km way from Beijing and
at an altitude of 550m above sea level, the site is at a place
where there are great mountains, nice air and extremely bright
sun. The place is also known for its frequent and heavy wind.
Instead of a single kindergarten, the project is actually a kindergarten
complex consists of a kindergarten, a education center
for children and residence for teachers.
Complex programming and spatial organization
The design began with the intention to put together the abovementioned
programs into a unity while maintaining its operational
independence. We introduced a continuous volume that
meanders on the site to divide up the site into various zones
specifi c for different functions. The education center, which
are open to the general public, were put on the north of the
site to allow maximum public access to the main street with
heavy traffi c. Main entrances of the kindergarten were put on
the east side of the site, facing a minor street with less traffi c.
Residences were put on the west side of the site in order to
receive the best sunlight.
The building masses in brown houses programs with less
publicness such as classrooms, residences, offi ces and utility
spaces while the building masses in white house public spaces
that connects other programs. With the interwoven volumes of
the brown and the white building masses, courtyards at various
scales were inserted into the building at various locations such
as entrance courtyard, delivery back court, side courts and etc.
These courts perform as layers of buffer zones that mediate
between the exterior and the interior spaces and established
spatial sequence entering the building. Pragmatically they
also provided outdoor playground for kids in the summer and
also allowed suffi cient natural lighting into the rooms.
Blurring of circulation and communication spaces
Since the project is located in northern China, it is particularly
important to address the issue of playground spaces for kids
during the winter season. In addtion to an outdoor playground,
we proposed a 6-meter-wide-and-80-meter-long linear space
that performs as an indoor multi-purpose playground for children
and teachers. The conventional idea of small corridors
were eliminated and substituted for a communal space that
encourages communication and visual and audio connections.
This linear multi-purpose playground connects all the
classrooms in the kindergarten and up across all three levels
through atriums. Kids can perform all kinds of activities ranging
from badminton, dancing to riding bicycles. Along the two
sides of this big linear playground, niches were created to provide
space for kids to crawl, sit or read.
Interval Architects was co-founded by Oscar KO and GU Yunduan. Work of the office has received awards and nominations including the Perspective A&D China Award, HKDC Design for Asia Award (Merit Recognition), Re-Thinking Future Award (Honorable Mention), and nomination for The 3rd China Media Architecture Award (Best Architecture Award) and candidate project for 2A Asia Architecture Award. Interval Architects has also won prizes or shortlisted recognitions in competitions including a 2nd prize in Glass House Collection '13 competition, shortlisted entry for Spritual.d-Competition, shortlisted entry for Designboom Design for Death Architecture competition. Interval Architects has also been published internationally in media such as Domusweb, Designboom, Archdaily, Dezeen, Wallpaper China Edition, Perspective, d+a, CASE DA ABITARE(Chinese edition), Architecture & Culture, Taiwan Architecture, CONDE, Hinge, Gooood, China 1000, di, Landscape World, UED and etc.
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