Yamazaki Kentaro Design Workshop completed the Hakusui Nursery School, a glass-enclosed structure that terraces down a slope in Chiba, Japan. Commissioned by local social welfare firm Seiyu-Kai, the nursery school was designed to accommodate 60 students and to take on the look and feel of a large house. In addition to overlooking views of the surrounding forested mountains, the terraced structure brings nature indoors with its warm timber materials palette and forest-like columns.
Yamazaki Kentaro Design Workshop was challenged to design a nursery school that not only included a variety of programmed spaces but also minimized the number of blind spots for safety reasons. The architects settled on creating a stair-like, mostly open-plan structure, where each level is used as a different “room.” Whereas the office, kitchen, and other service areas are located towards the north side of the building within walled rooms, the playroom, nap room, and nursery rooms step down the slope to the south. The second floor comprises a balcony space and deck.
Floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors are placed on the north and south facades to draw in natural light as well as cross-ventilation from the south side that passes through the building and out across the terrace to the north. Skylights bring in additional natural light. The sliding doors also make the outdoors terrace and landscaping seem like a natural extension of the indoor environment. The small pond located on the south end gathers rainwater that slides off the sloped roof and serves as an extra play space for the children.
Images via Yamazaki Kentaro Design Workshop