One of the most interesting things in any building are unusual spaces. We all have seen houses, schools, hospitals or libraries, that are very well designed (…or not). But I love those buildings with something unexpected, with a different room scheme or different dimensions that we are used to.

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For example, when I was looking for a house to live, I did not stop until I found something different. A very narrow but long (32m!) flat, with a quite strange kitchen in the middle. I say strange because it is 7,5 m high…

And obviously, my daughters’ friends can stop looking up when they come!

This is why we post this kindergarten building. Yes, it has all that a kindergarten must have. But there are some areas that has made me say “wow, this is a great building”!

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03 cuteandkids kanagawa kindergarten

We love this different spaces, this house-in-a-house spaces, that made the user act in a different way.

The huts and house-shaped nooks are part of a wider strategy to encourage exploration and play inside the building’s central communal space.

The architects define this space as a woodland with “tree houses”, huts and a climbing wall.

In architect’s words, “in the woods, there are small and large spaces, small steps, spaces where they draw a picture, climbing spaces and a hut similar to a tree house”.

“In recent years, when children’s physical ability and creativity have been decreased, we expect that they can start improving their ability by setting a variety of playgrounds indoors at different places.”

The Atsugi Nozomi (AN) Kindergarten is located on a site in a residential area of Atsugi city, Japan. It was built 42 years ago by Japanese studios Hibino Sekkei and Youji no Shiro. Now these architecture studios have returned to the same building, updating it to suit modern teaching styles.

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06 cuteandkids kanagawa kindergarten

Photography: Studio Bauhaus, Kenjiro Yoshimi and Ryuji Inoue.