Kindergarten marks the beginning of a child’s educational journey. At this stage, children learn primarily through play and by taking in their surroundings. The design therefore aims to create a space that encourages active exploration, discovery, communication, and play through an integrated layout featuring a flexible blend of play and learning areas.
Nestled within a residential community in Shenyang city in North China, Wonder Kindergarten is a neighborhood school with 8 classrooms. Its pitched roof design draws inspiration from the Frigid Zone housing typology, creating an intriguing and cozy space for children.
The school building is comprised of three interconnected structures. The longest of these structures houses eight classrooms on two levels. The central volume contains the main entrance, while the southern volume houses a multi-purpose hall, suitable for both performances and indoor sports classes.
Frigid Zone’s sloped roof typology has the advantage of not easily accumulating snow whilst reducing damages from the harsh climate. The added dormer windows on the roofs could also accelerate the ventilation during summer. The wind from east side could easily pass through because the air pressure is lower when the dormer windows are opened. These glazing panels also bring more natural lighting into interior space. The large windows of first floor would give children an enjoyable scenery and create connection between indoor sport spaces and outdoor playground.
Winter in north China is severely cold and long; therefore, indoor playground is relatively important for the kindergarten. We took advantage of the story height in the lobby and create a wooden cabin with multi-layer platforms. The wooden cabin, integrated with a slide, an ocean ball pool, a rock-climbing wall, and multiple bookshelves, was designed to be feature of the kindergarten and it do have become children’ wonderland now.
The lobby features a cabin design that instantly captures the excitement of children upon entering the school and helps ease their transition to a new environment.
The cabin, which consists of a game hut, climbing hut, fairy tale hut, and reading hut, offers a diverse and rich space for children to learn and play. They can run and jump between high and low platforms, experience the environment from different perspectives, and constantly discover new surprises within the indoor playground.
School-aged children are typically filled with curiosity about their surroundings. To inspire their deep perception of the environment, natural materials such as wood or laminated wood panels are predominantly used in the design. Through both visual and tactile training, children are taught to develop respect for the natural world.
Establishing order is crucial in school design, which is why we aim to create a consistent design language throughout the building, from the form of the building to the interior elements such as ceilings, walls, bulletin boards, cabinets, and other parts. The mountain-shaped outline, which is inspired by the building’s concept, serves as the dominant design language to create an organized and vibrant overall space.
To ensure a safe environment, rounded corners and edges are incorporated into the design, and soft, curved lines also serve as a prominent design element. In the design of the second-floor art classroom, the combination of various colored furniture and shapes such as spheres, curves, and squares provides children with an additional aesthetic experience.
The Multi-functional room, located between the hall and the outdoor playground, serves as a versatile space for the kindergarten. It can be utilized for a variety of activities such as sports, gatherings, and performances and also serves as an extension of the hall during special events. The room is equipped with stage equipment and a well-designed backstage area, making it suitable for formal performances. The addition of mirror walls also supports children’s physical education.
Young children typically express their perceptions of the world through doodles, so the corridor and public area walls are designed with a large number of bulletin boards and graffiti walls to showcase their lively paintings. There are social spaces and seating areas throughout the hall, corridor, and hallway corners, and these encounters, cooperation, interaction, and games interweave to form a beautiful memory of their childhood.”
Location：Shenyang, Liaoning Province, China
Status: Construction Complete
Design Finish Year: 2018
Completion Year: 2020