Japanese studios Hibino Sekkei and Youji no Shiro have returned to a kindergarten building in Kanagawa Prefecture they designed 42 years ago, updating it to suit modern teaching styles.
Located on a site in a residential area of Atsugi city, the Atsugi Nozomi (AN) Kindergarten needed updating to comply with newer earthquake safety regulations as well as adapting for newer teaching methods.
Rather than completely demolish the existing building, the architects chose to preserve elements of their previous design in the new two storey structure.
“We were requested to change the kindergarten to the type for the next generation that is appropriate for the current days, and accepted to design it again,” said the architects.
“As there was a large corridor as wide as five meters in the middle of the existing building, we decided to design by arranging the building in modern style and flow planning while taking over the memory of the existing building in the new building,” they explained.
Teaching spaces and a gym are arranged on either side of this wide walkway that runs along the lengthy of the structure, with a staircase in the middle providing access to the upper floor.
A house shaped hole set into the supporting structure for the stairs provides a hiding place, while freestanding hut-like structures provide reading and play spaces.
Similarly-shaped boxes with built-in seating are set into the glass balustrades around sky wells on the second floor, which features clerestory windows on each side of the tall corridor space that rises above the building’s roof.
“There is a small window in the hut, and it produces a new connection with children who are playing at downstairs,” said the architects.
“The hut under the stairs looks like a hole in large tree, and a soft cushion is spread in whole space.”
The glass balustrades on the upper floor are designed to allow the children and teachers to see through the building.
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