Low Density Kindergarten in a Dense City
Designed by VMPDE, the kindergarten is located in Dachong, the tech hub of Shenzhen. Shenzhen is one of the core engines of regional development in the Greater Bay Area, and Dachong is synonymous to prosperity and potential. Here is the gathering place for hi-tech talents and companies, densely populated, dense building and high plot ratio, busy families living here demand a great kindergarten with integrated accessibility.
The project is located on the terrace, second floor of a mall, which is one of the few places in this area with large outdoor space.
The outdoor terrace and the indoor space are well connected to each other, forming an enclosed site.
Site Planning Concept — From Flexible Function to Flexible Thinking
VMDPE wants to make good use of the big outdoor space which account for large proportion of the site, the design should address to an important question: what kind of outdoor teaching spaces do children need?
Connecting with nature? Running for fun? Or exciting playground equipment?
We want to rethink the connection between the outdoor space and children, by trying to explore new possibilities among "playground", "sports ground", "park", and "classroom".
First, we thought about possible scenarios for outdoor activities: sports, arts and crafts classes, outdoor performances, activities for School Open House Day and Community Open Day, Starry Night Party, Children's Food Festival, and Children's Art Festival. These activities can be simplified into three categories: outdoor sports, outdoor classes, and outdoor festivals. However, we never want to simply divide the outdoor space into three zones — otherwise there won't be enough room for each zone to perform its functions. Therefore, we decide to integrate them in a creative manner.
When children want to have an exciting sports competition, the entire place can be where they run and play, which we fully took into account different types of sports and safety, based on the function of different outdoor areas.
Or when the school decides to organize an event, the "big tree platform" becomes a stage, and the "gardening area" can be used as a path to the stage.
In addition to functional flexibility, we also want to provide a kind of flexibility in thinking. In contrast to specific game in the playground, the teaching area is designed to allow children to rely on their own imagination to use it in a playful way.
For example, the gardening area is also a sliding area. The robot in the science area is both a cute mascot and a nest for birds.
Some children's seating areas can be used to play as “single-plank bridges” or“boating game”. All arrangements feature both specific functions and flexibility.
We want children to be in a space that encourage curiosity and always ready to explore.
Our design is based on Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives by Benjamin Bloom. We are trying to practice the psychomotor theory proposed by Benjamin design philosophy in the design of children's space. The playground equipment was designed in professional and rigorous way to allow functions and experiences to be visually symbolized, so the children can follow their imaginations in explorations, and gain their understanding of the environment.