- Architects: ArkA
- Location: Beijing, China
- Client: Peninsula Education Group
- Area: 8000.0 m2
- Project Year: 2017
- Photographs: Chiara Ye
Text description provided by the architects. Beijing Peninsula Kindergarten is our second cooperation project with Peninsula Education Group. Mixing the Montessori education with the architecture, our designers aim to create a more suitable space and safe environment for the growth of Chinese children, allowing them to play and learn freely and happily.
The original building was an open-plan office, with its entire space being divided into 4 floors. Our first mission is to make over the space according to kids’ physical proportion. In our design, we add many small houses which gives the kids a sense of ownership and safety.
The design of the classroom resembles a simple house. The library is transformed into an open space with a tree planted in the center, just like the main square of a rural town. Corridors become a multifunctional open space where kids move around freely and play with others, and it is easy for teachers to supervise at the same time. Some corridors are portrayed as fields for the children to experience seasonal changes and roam around.
A big blue staircase connects every floor, as if it were a canal from the old times. The arrangement of those houses and staircase presents an image of a village built along the river, bringing the kids closer with nature. Like a harmonious village, the Montessori Kindergarten serves as a community where children and adults engage in interacting and learning and enjoy the experience.
Meanwhile, an easy and safe design is applied to the doors so that younger kids can also use without worrying about the sharp corners. Large use of windows allows teachers to observe the kids’ activities.
Through the establishment of a free and open space, the kids will be able to study and play at their option and develop their abilities by themselves. In this way, kids learn to become independent and make their own decisions, which we believe will play a significant role in their studies and life in the future.