Fuji Kindergarten, Tachikawa, Tokyo, Japan
Exemplary design categories: comfort, flexible learning settings, furniture, green school, multi-sensory environment, outdoor spaces, safetyHow the facility meets the needs of education and communities:
The oval-shaped building makes full use of the tight urban site. The design maximises the space available for secure but unconstrained play and child development in line with Montessori principles, with a roof deck running around the entire single-storey structure and a large enclosed central courtyard. Three mature zelkova trees have been incorporated into the building, protruding through the roof to form a green canopy that provides welcome shade for part of the roof deck in summer. The school has been designed to allow children to mix and move around at will. There are no fixed walls between the classrooms, and children can move between class groups. All furniture can be easily rearranged to accommodate different group sizes and different activities. As well as chairs and desks for the children, there are many wooden boxes that are used to partition smaller areas or to provide additional benches for seating. For most of the year, the large sliding screens that form the inner wall of the building are pushed back, opening up the interior spaces to the sheltered courtyard in the centre of he school. In the winter, when the sliding wall screens remain closed, the rooms are kept warm using a Korean underfloor heating system. Lighting can be adjusted using ceiling-mounted pull cords.
Activity Areas: Open teaching spaces and large playground areas, with outdoor faucets, wells, slides from stair to roof and elevator
Project costs: JPY 500,000,000.00
Source: "Designing for Education: Compendium of Exemplary Educational Facilities 2011"