Hakusui Nursery School: A Large House

Yamazaki Kentaro Design Workshop

Architects: Yamazaki Kentaro Design Workshop / Kentaro Yamazaki.
Location: Sakura-shi, Chiba, Japan.
Photography: Naoomi Kurozumi.

This nursery school in Sakura, Chiba was planned to accommodate 60 pupils.

Seiyu-Kai, a local social welfare firm specializing in elderly care facilities approached us for this project. The overarching concept for this plan started with an idea: “a nursery school is a large house.”

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Surrounded by mountains and forest, the southern area of the site rests on a gentle slope. Putting this topography to use, we designed the school room to resemble a large set of stairs.

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One unique feature of this “large house,” for example, is that a 3-year-old child is in the same room as a 5-year-old and these children of different ages can interact in the wide, one-room space. Additionally, should a 3-year-old child be sleeping while a 5-year-old child plays nearby, these differences in rhythm reinforce the “domestic” qualities of this “large house.” Keeping in line with Seiyu-kai’s longstanding (26-year) philosophy, we made it a priority to minimize the number of blind spots in the room in order to keep safety measures as unintrusive as possible.

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Utilizing large sliding window frames along the northern and southern faces, along with the space created by the slope, ventilation is created as a breeze draws in from the south of the structure, passes through the forest-like interior pillars making its way upwards before finally blowing out across the terrace on the northern side.

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A small pond on the southern end, which gathers rainwater as well as water from sprinklers installed on the southward-slanted roof, also contributes to the airflow as the water is absorbed into the wind that blows into the structure. This was part of a comprehensive plan to create a space that was inseparable from the environment that surrounds it. We believe that in pursuing the original concept of a “nursery school as a large house” we achieved something not unlike the houses in the farming communities that surround it.

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Our goal was to create a space that was not only fun for the children but, by blending into the nature around it, fosters an experience that was greater than the sum of its elements.
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Siteplan

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Plans

Site area: 1,046.64 sq.m.
Floor area: 530.28 sq.m.
Structural design: ASD / Ryuji Tabata, Takayuki Tabata.
Facility design: yamada machinery office / Hiroyuki Yamada.
Graphic design: SHUNPEI YOKOYAMA DESIGN OFFICE / Shunpei Yokoyama.