The building that used to house the “OA Kindergarten” in Japan’s Saitama Prefecture was nearing 50 years old, and engineers determined it wasn’t likely to withstand a major earthquake. With the precious lives of the next generation at stake, a new resilient structure was called for, so Hibino Sekkei and Youji no Shiro developed a new space using a collection of stacked shipping containers in conjunction with salvaged parts of the original structure.
Utilizing shipping containers is a growing trend in architecture and construction for a variety of reasons. The metal boxes are incredibly strong, and can also cut construction costs as well as time, since they can be retrofitted into more elaborate buildings faster than traditional building methods. The two firms have a history of partnering to create open, light-filled spaces for Japan’s tots, and the OA Kindergarten is the latest in a series of facilities that provide soothing spaces for all sorts of educational endeavors—and of course, some play time as well.
In addition to the structure’s strength, its inner workings are designed with energy efficiency and a reduced carbon footprint in mind. The architects hope the new kindergarten building will inspire the children to connect with nature by learning about the importance of lowering carbon dioxide emissions. The new building was designed without interfering with the existing trees, instead incorporating them into the design in a way that draws the kids’ attention. In this way, the architects hope to fuel a passion for environmental stewardship that will last a lifetime.
Images via Studio Bauhaus