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The Play-round

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Project Name / the Play-round
Location / Changzhi, China
Size / 3,542 Sqm
Client / Changshen Developments
Stage / Schematic Design pending for approval

Superimpose designed a kindergarten, which encourages kids to explore, play, stimulate their senses and, most importantly, to be active in the outdoor environment. To achieve that, Superimpose challenged the enclosed space orientated, overprotective and digital media focused surroundings that city kids endure in similar rapidly urbanized cities in China.

A kindergarten was proposed in the newly built residential areas for which Superimpose designed the master plan. The design needs to comply with the strict and updated local codes for kindergartens, such as enforcement of daylight, outdoor play areas and safety. Superimpose dedicated the design to getting as much daylight in as possible and to providing a mixture of private and public outdoor play areas varying in sizes, shapes and views. By blurring the physical boundaries between outside and inside, kids are encouraged to go outside and explore.

Due to the strict site constrains and height restrictions, highly efficient floor plates for ground and second floor had to be considered, following a rigid column grid. At the first floor the complimentary functions such as auditorium, teacher rooms, nurse rooms, kitchen, general storage, small library, multifunction room and loading are situated. The second floor houses the eight class units with adjacent outdoor private play-gardens.

Upon entering the kindergarten, a spacious lobby with views towards the auditorium and central courtyard welcomes the kids to school. Two spacious vertical circulation cores, integrated with bamboo trees, invite the children to walk up to the class units. The round and comfortable sized central courtyard, acts as the heart of the project, and will be visible from nearly all spaces. The circular shape of the courtyard creates interior pockets where children can retrieve. The façade surrounding the round courtyard can be opened by large floor-to-ceiling doors, which improve connectivity between inside and outside. The central courtyard is a multitude of play spaces, play furniture and also integrates allotments for kids to grow their own vegetables.

At the second floor, eight classrooms surround the large central atrium, overlooking the circular play-space on the ground floor. All the eight classrooms have a direct connection to a private outdoor play-yard of sixty square meters. Within the unit, the washroom splits the the multifunction classroom and dormitory apart. Each unit contains a circular roof light and floor-to-ceiling glass to allow sufficient daylight into the classrooms.

The project is currently pending for government approval. Superimpose hopes this kindergarten will become a benchmark for other educational developments in similar cities, showcasing that daylight, outside play-space, interactions with nature are key elements in early age development.