A large oval building of about 183m outer circumferences, and about 108m inner circumference. Three existing zelkova trees (two of 25m and one of 15m) pass through the architecture.
This is a kindergarten for 560 children. All the architectural spaces are at the scale of a child. It is a one-story building, with the ceiling heights restricted to 2100mm. There is hence an extremely close relationship between the floor level and the rooftop level.
Never-ending chases sometimes occur on the endless oval roof.
Wherever you are, the entire garden can be viewed
To prevent the areas around the roots being infiltrated by the alkali compounds in concrete, a sheet underlay was installed prior to the leveling concrete. The digging and soil stabilization proceeded while avoiding the roots, and it was more like an excavation site than a construction site.
The three large zelkova trees that pass through the roof are splendid climbing points. We initially tried surrounding them with a 1.1m-high handrail, but the children could pass through it without any trouble, so the final result was a net specifically designed to surround the trees.
The childcare rooms contain – and are gently divided from each other by – furniture of a size and weight that a child can carry. As shelves for storing teaching equipment, the furniture sometimes also becomes big building blocks.
Our scheme is the "end of an era." Here is a treasure house of the "joy" that we have abandoned in modern times. Modern conveniences have deprived children of sensation. What we want to teach through this building is "common sense.” These are the values of human society that do not change, even across the eras.
We want the children raised here to grow into people who do not exclude anything or anyone. Even though decades may pass, this kindergarten will still be full of the smiles of children energetically running around. We want it to be the same as it is now.
Design Firm: Tezuka Architects
Location: Fuji, Japan
total floor area: 1,304.01m2
constructor: Takenaka Corporation