Once Ogura Asahi Kindergarten reached it's 50th anniversary, the school realized they weren't up to proper earthquake code. Instead of simply bringing the school up to code however, Architects HIBINOSEKKEI+Youji no Shiro gave the school a completely beautiful make-over packed with eco-friendly components. The kindergarten, located in Saitama, Japan is now not only sustainable in a structural sense, but upgrades strive to teach children how to value the planet's resources. Keep reading to learn more.
HIBINOSEKKEI+Youji no Shiro
HIBINOSEKKEI+Youji no Shiro is a Japanese Architectural Firm that specializes in creating amazing schools for young children, such as kindergartens, nurseries and daycare facilities. The firm, having been hired to upgrade Ogura Asahi’s earthquake code, decided that they’d go above and beyond. The firm states that their main theme of the school would be to teach children about fossil fuels and to educate on how resources should be valued and used sparingly. To accomplish their main goal, the architects used recycled marine shipping containers to reinforce earthquake resistance instead of new building materials.
Teaching children to hug trees
The architects took great care not to disturb or remove any standing trees during the design process. Instead they designed around the trees, leaving them in places where children could touch, see and enjoy them. The goal here, according to the architects, was to teach the children to consider their global environment and to provide “ecological education with continuation of memory.”
The sustainable gym
The earthquake resistance was reinforced but renovations were made by using the existing structure. The architects note that they intended to help the children realize that they used reconstruction methods vs. new construction by leaving the existing form of the roof intact.
By building with recycled materials which is not only a lesson in saving resources, but also saves energy and reduces carbon dioxide, the architects were attempting (and likely succeeding) in teaching the children to use all their limited resources carefully.
By opening up the nursing room and teachers’ room so that they now faced the great outdoors, the architects allow everyone, children and adults, to feel what is going on inside each room even when they’re outside. Additionally, the open air concept allows people in the neighborhood to feel what is going on inside the kindergarten when they pass by.
A school where you can feel the difference
The architects purposefully allowed the roughness of the containers outside in order to let the young children find the container easily, whereas wood was used on the interior to allow for a feeling of warmth, noting that the youngsters, “can feel the comparison of inside and outside.”