MAD Architects

YueCheng Courtyard Kindergarten / MAD Architects

Curated by 韩爽 – HAN Shuang
KINDERGARTEN • BEIJING, CHINA
Architects : MAD Architects
Area : 10778 m²
Year : 2020
Photographs : Hufton+Crow, Arch Exist, Iwan Baan, Fangfang Tian, CreatAR Images

©Hufton+Crow

Textual content description supplied by the architects. In 2017, MAD Architects was commissioned to design a kindergarten subsequent to a senior residents’ residence in Beijing, reflecting the shopper’s “intergenerational integration” ethos that blends pre-school training and eldercare. The topic web site, overlaying an space of 9,275 sq. meters, consisted of an unique 18th-century Siheyuan courtyard, an adjoining reproduction courtyard constructed within the 1990s, and a four-story trendy building. Following its completion on the finish of 2019, the kindergarten now serves as a pre-school training area for 390 kids aged from 1.5 to six years previous.

©Hufton+Crow

“After I appeared again at my very own kindergarten years, and even those I noticed after I grew up, I at all times questioned what it’s that children lengthy for essentially the most,” stated Ma Yansong. “Maybe it’s freedom and love. A kindergarten doesn’t at all times have to supply complicated {hardware} or fixtures, but it surely should at all times make youngsters really feel freedom and love – one thing that leads them to infinite prospects.”

©Hufton+Crow

In shaping the mission, MAD selected to take away the reproduction courtyard exterior the historic 18th-century unique, and change it with a brand new area that holds the Siheyuan courtyard “within the palm of its hand.” Because it envelops the previous courtyard, the brand new area adopts a low and mild posture, with a flowing movement contrasting the strict, orderly structure of the historic structure. This rigidity, rising from completely different dimensions in time, provides the building a renewed life. The brand new doesn’t overshadow the previous, whereas the previous doesn’t overtake the current.

©Hufton+Crow

The brand new building varieties a “floating roof” that connects a wide range of unbiased areas in unity whereas making folks really feel as if they’ve entered an entire new realm. Aside from the pink partitions and yellow tiles of the Forbidden Metropolis, the architecture of Outdated Beijing is dominated by the blue bricks and gray tiles of hutongs and alleys. MAD’s kindergarten seeks to take folks past this context, not simply of Beijing however even of Earth; to see and picture the lengthy historical past in entrance of them from one other time and area.

©Hufton+Crow

The floating roof evokes a kids’s proverb from Outdated Beijing: “In case you go three days with out being punished, the roof will collapse.” The undulating “caving” topography of the roof varieties a Martian panorama of kinds, attractive kids to run, play, and work together with it and one another. When mixed with the traditional courtyard, previous timber, and infinite sky, a surreal surroundings conjures up kids to assume, replicate, and chase infinite prospects.

©Hufton+Crow

At floor stage, MAD designed three courtyards round a number of previous timber on the unique web site. The brand new courtyards correspond to these of the previous Siheyuan buildings, offering the instructing areas with mild, air flow, and an outside extension, whereas slides and stairs join the courtyards to the rooftop panorama above.

©Hufton+Crow

Reflecting additional on the mission, Ma Yansong says, “Outdated Beijing has many ‘cracks’ – tunnels, roofs, courtyards, and so forth. The courtyards, particularly, replicate an oriental view of nature. Right here, nature turns into the primary topic, and the architecture as an alternative revolves round it. Within the courtyard there may be nature, the world, and human life, appearing collectively to type the core of the architecture.”

©Hufton+Crow

As one enters the inside from above, the ambiance feels heat and shiny. Responding to the delicate sense of scale and luxury skilled by kids, the inside of the building is suspended from a single aluminum grille, which lowers the visible top of the scheme whereas instilling the inside with a family-like heat. In the meantime, floor-to-ceiling glass partitions permit daylight to stream by way of the inside whereas forming a visible reference to the previous courtyard home. Right here, the three-hundred-year linear historical past between the previous and new buildings turns into three-dimensional.

©Hufton+Crow

As one enters the inside from above, the ambiance feels heat and shiny. Responding to the delicate sense of scale and luxury skilled by kids, the inside of the building is suspended from a single aluminum grille, which lowers the visible top of the scheme whereas instilling the inside with a family-like heat. In the meantime, floor-to-ceiling glass partitions permit daylight to stream by way of the inside whereas forming a visible reference to the previous courtyard home. Right here, the three-hundred-year linear historical past between the previous and new buildings turns into three-dimensional.

©Hufton+Crow

The west aspect of the foyer results in a studying space, the place a flowing spatial structure creates a free, communal ambiance, and a singular density and scale. Inside the studying space, the completely different mixed-age studying teams will not be separated by closed partitions, however by curved partitions at common intervals – initially a supporting structure for the building. The “borderless” studying area, ubiquitous studying surroundings, and curriculum specializing in studying by way of exploratory play, not solely enriches the interplay between kids but additionally permits instructing and studying to happen in an optimum ambiance.

©Hufton+Crow

The triple-entry courtyard home, related to the brand new area through courtyards and corridors, serves as a spot to host the youngsters’s extracurricular cultural, inventive, and inventive actions, in addition to an workplace for employees. The eaves and tiles of the courtyards, and the previous timber contained inside, are crammed with a historic and pure ambiance that’s bigger than the size of particular person life; some extent of inspiration and reflection within the kids’s minds, and an opportunity to deepen their understanding of historical past.

©Hufton+Crow

The YueCheng Courtyard Kindergarten reveals how a number of seemingly disparate, even generally contradictory, parts of architecture from completely different historic intervals can coexist harmoniously whereas sustaining their authenticity and individuality. What’s extra, they’ll work in unison to create a brand new openness and richness, giving kids an goal and real looking notion of their surroundings. The result’s an understanding of how nature and historical past can deliver a way of inclusiveness to a brand new place, shaping a neighborhood’s distinctive consensus and values.