izy kindergarten and nursery encourages sensitivity, creativity, and interaction
‘izy kindergarten and nursery’ by hibinosekkei + youji no shiro in aichi, japan aims to teach children the local history and culture through the awakening of five senses. the resulting structure presents itself as a volume with a spacious layout that encourages sensitivity, creativity, and interaction. the project reflects the town’s heritage — which used to flourish as a carpenter‘s town hence the name ‘yokomatsu daiku (carpenter)’ — all the while stimulating senses of seeing, touching, smelling, hearing, and tasting.all images courtesy of toshinari soga (studio bauhaus)
wood as the protagonist of the interior
as the architects mentioned, the declining birth rate, the increasing nuclear families, and extensive use of social media decrease the children’s interaction with people of other generations, therefore their communication ability. within this context, the design team at hibinosekkei + youji no shiro, opted to enhance the communication among people of various backgrounds and bring the kindergarten closer to the neighboring temple that till now was separated by a fence. with this in mind, the overall design aims to enhance the interaction between children, staff, visitors, and neighbors.
overall, the outdoor envelope is clad in gray hues in an attempt to match the look of the temple, gate, and roof tile of the washstand. on the other hand, the interiors are imbued with more warm tones and multiple textures creating a more intimate environment for the kids. this atmosphere is heightened by the use of wood, becoming the protagonist of the interior. floor-to-ceiling timber structures that function as a library, net climbing, and workshop space, invite the young students to explore, stimulating their curiosity. these perforated elements fuse wood with glazing allowing visual connection and encouraging interaction and socializing. furthermore, the multifunctional area that also serves as a dining room, takes shape as a wooden pool with a full-open window that frames the surrounding scenery.
with these materials, children use their senses, while at the same time as the studio described ‘that kind of natural texture in the architecture of kindergarten and nursery creates a sense of unity with the temple’. ‘in these ways, children can grow their sensitivity and creativity in an environment where people can feel the warmth of temples and neighbors, and feel the culture and history’.