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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Raffles Kindergarten Complex in Hebei, China by Interval Architects

March 11th, 2018 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: Interval Architects

Project background:

The project is located at Sha Cheng, the center of Hualai city in the province he Hebei, China.  120km way from Beijing and at an altitude of 550m above sea level, the site is at a place where there are great mountains, nice air and extremely bright sun.  The place is also famous its frequent and heavy wind.

Instead of a single kindergarten, the project is actually a kindergarten complex consists of a kindergarten, a education center for children and residence for teachers.

East facade, Image Courtesy © GU Yunduan

  • Architects: Interval Architects
  • Project: Raffles Kindergarten Complex
  • Location: Hebei, China
  • Photography: GU Yunduan
  • Scope of design: Architectural design, Interior design, Landscape design
  • Principal architect: Oscar KO, GU Yunduan
  • Team: Oscar KO, GU Yunduan, LIU Wentian, HUANG Jin, FANG Hanqi, GONG Yujie, QI Lihui, DONG Hang, CHEN Xin, KONG Min, SI Mazhiyan, YANG Shiyu
  • Lighting design: MIAO Hailin
  • Client: Raffles Kindergarten
  • Local design institute: Zhangjiakou Zhongtian Architectural Design Limited

West facade, Image Courtesy © GU Yunduan

  • Site area: 11850㎡
  • Floor area above ground: 10044㎡
  • Floor area underground: 550㎡
  • FAR: 0.85
  • Ground floor area: 3555㎡
  • Density: 30%
  • Green ration: 30%

West facade overlooking the playground, Image Courtesy © GU Yunduan

West playground, Image Courtesy © GU Yunduan

Complex programming and spatial organization

The design began with the intention to put together the above-mentioned programs into a unity while maintaining its operational independence.  We introduced a continuous volume that meanders on the site to divide up the site into various zones specific for different functions.  The education center, which are open to the general public, were put on the north of the site to allow maximum public access to the main street with heavy traffic.  Main entrances of the kindergarten were put on the east side of the site, facing a minor street with less traffic.  Residences were put on the west side of the site in order to receive the best sunlight.

West facade, Image Courtesy © GU Yunduan

West playground, Image Courtesy © GU Yunduan

The building masses in brown houses programs with less publicness such as classrooms, residences, offices and utility spaces while the building masses in white house public spaces that connects other programs.  With the interwoven volumes of the brown and the white building masses, courtyards at various scales were inserted into the building at various locations such as entrance courtyard, delivery back court, side courts and etc.  These courts performs as layers of buffer zones that mediates between the exterior and the interior spaces and established spatial sequence entering the building.  Pragmatically speaking they also provided outdoor playground for kids in the summer and also allowed sufficient natural lighting into the rooms.

South facade, Image Courtesy © GU Yunduan

Delivery lane, Image Courtesy © GU Yunduan

Blurring of circulation and communication spaces

Since the project is located in northern China, it is particularly important to address the issue of playground spaces for kids during the winter season.  Instead of providing an outdoor playground, we proposed a 6-meter-wide-and-80-meter-long linear space that performs as an indoor multi-purpose playground for children and teachers.  The conventional idea of small corridors were eliminated and substituted for a communal space that encourages communication and visual and audio connections.  This linear multi-purpose playground connects all the classrooms in the kindergarten and up across all three levels through atriums.  Kids can perform all kinds of activities ranging from badminton, dancing to riding bicycles.  Along the two sides of this big linear playground, niches were created to provide space for kids to crawl, sit or read.

Entrance playground, Image Courtesy © GU Yunduan

Entrance playground, Image Courtesy © GU Yunduan

Entrance playground, Image Courtesy © GU Yunduan

Roof garden, Image Courtesy © GU Yunduan

Birdeye view, Image Courtesy © GU Yunduan

Children sitting on benches outside classrooms, Image Courtesy © GU Yunduan

Children playing in the entrance hall, Image Courtesy © GU Yunduan

Children playing in the interior playground, Image Courtesy © GU Yunduan

Classroom and balcony, Image Courtesy © GU Yunduan

Entrance playground, Image Courtesy © GU Yunduan

Entrance playground, Image Courtesy © GU Yunduan

Model of the interior playground, Image Courtesy © Interval Architects

Ground floor plan, Image Courtesy © Interval Architects

2nd floor plan, Image Courtesy © Interval Architects

3rd floor plan, Image Courtesy © Interval Architects

Axonometric view, Image Courtesy © Interval Architects

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Categories: complex, Educational Center, Kindergarten, Residential

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