First MAD Architects kindergarten in Japan
MAD Architects have completed its first project in Japan, a sculptural space for children in the small town of Okazaki, the ‘clover house kindergarten’.
The building was formerly a two-storey residence that had become too small to cater to the needs of its young users. The school’s setting presents views of the paddy fields and mountains beyond, elements characteristic of the Aichi prefecture. The brief called for a modern educational institution where children could feel as comfortable as they do in their own homes, allowing them to grow and learn in a nurturing setting.
The original building was a 105 square meter property and it was first constructed as a standard prefabricated house. To minimize construction costs, MAD Architects decided to recycle the existing wooden structure, incorporating it into the new design. Consequently, the original frame is present throughout the main learning area. A series of translucent and enclosed spaces adapt to different teaching activities, while windows of various shapes allow sunlight to filter inside the building, creating ever-changing shadows designed to stimulate students’ curiosity and imagination.
‘I think it’s important to create a homely atmosphere inside this kindergarten, so instead building a brand new building, we decide to keep the old wooden structure as the memory and the soul of the space, and work around it,’ explains Ma Yansong, founder of MAD architects.
‘we have designed the building from a child’s point of view, and the layout focuses on creating intimate and diverse spaces. We wanted to create a playful piece of architecture that would stay in the memory of the kids when they have grown up.’
The facade is like a piece of cloth draped over the building’s skeleton. The new skin wraps around the existing wooden structure.
It is definitely a very good exercise of recycling while preserving the most interesting parts of the building. Good job!