Quanzhou Guanru Kindergarten

From "Educational Space" to "Space Education"

Change, Combine, Reconstruct

For children, games represent an excess of vitality and curiosity, an instinctive aesthetic activity (Schiller's theory of play). They embody the creativity and rich artistic perception of "change, combine, and reconstruct."
 

Children's babbling language follows a similar pattern, starting from basic words and then undergoing "change, combine, and reconstruct" through repetition and reinforcement, laying the foundation for their language development.

Kindergarten Design

For designers, the act of design is a collision between ideas and space, an ongoing process of "change, combine, and reconstruct" guided by imagination.
 

In this project, the designers no longer adhere to the traditional attributes of "educational space" with its enclosed and fixed nature. Instead, they focus on creating "space education" that supports openness and accommodates change. They aim to construct flexible and adaptable spaces that enable spatial communication, dialogue with children, and support children's independent play through "change, combine, and reconstruct."
 

Change

Representational Space

Lines are formed by connecting countless "points," and surfaces are aggregations of an infinite number of "lines." In this design, white serves as the base color, complemented by lively pastel macaron colors and gentle Mordant colors to create a free and open atmosphere.
 

In the space division of the hall, lines and surfaces interweave and combine to create multiple smaller spaces, enriching spatial dimensions and functionality, and enhancing the depth of vision in the front hall.

Kindergarten Design
Kindergarten Design

The smoothness of "curves and straight lines" and the design of multifaceted facades meet children's psychological behaviors like gazing, tunneling, climbing, and overlooking. The use of slides and low stairs connects the upper and lower spaces, creating a sense of openness and privacy in the hall.

Kindergarten Design
Kindergarten Design

On the other side of the hall, a relaxation area is created with soft sofas, playful wooden chairs, and various-height round tables to provide a warm atmosphere. The semi-open and semi-private space design cleverly caters to the needs of communication for both teachers and children.
 

The ceiling design incorporates various-sized "circles," which, in traditional culture, symbolize harmony and completeness. This design aims to create a warm and inviting atmosphere for those who take a break in this space.
 

The language of the space is embedded within it, and space education is not about boring classroom-style teaching but rather subtle and implicit learning. It allows children to grow as "global citizens" in a shared and open environment, reaching their "zone of proximal development."
 

Combine

Cultural Integration

Culture originates from the land, is hidden in language, and is the spiritual essence of the region and the embodiment of its inhabitants' labor.
 

By integrating architectural space with culture, the language of space finds its origin and takes on a tangible form. The designers delve into the cultural roots of the local area, introducing the local tea culture of Quanzhou into the kindergarten to achieve cultural overlap and integration.

Kindergarten Design
Kindergarten Design

Tea culture, as one of China's ancient scholarly traditions, is seen as a form of lifestyle art, where the people of Quanzhou use tea to connect with themselves and cultivate their spirits.
 

Taking inspiration from the tranquil and elegant tea rooms, the design incorporates grid cabinets on the lectern facade to add a touch of antiquity. The tea table is designed at child-friendly heights, with tea sets neatly arranged. The cushions placed around the table reflect the Zen-like tranquility found in the lines "The straw mat and cushion have not been dusted, and the pine stone seems to be deserted," creating a serene atmosphere.
 

The ceiling light fixtures, with their flying eave design, seem to bring movement to stillness, symbolizing that even in the smallest detail, one can find boundless beauty, much like how one tea can have a thousand different flavors. With the introduction of tea culture, the depth of the space's content is gradually expanded, and the foundation for space education is established.
 

Reconstruct

Emerging Scenarios

In the language of film, there is a term originally from architectural theory called "montage," which means "composition." In the context of filmmaking, "narrative montage" focuses on conveying plots and events by cutting and combining shots, scenes, and paragraphs according to the story, time, and cause-and-effect relationships to guide the audience's understanding of the plot.
 

Drawing inspiration from this technique, the designers break down and rearrange the existing spatial elements, using the cause-and-effect logic of children's psychology to recombine them—thus, "reconstruction." This approach guides children's independent play behaviors in space education.

Kindergarten Design

Following the principles of STEAM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics), the woodworking studio, science and invention studio, art studio, and reading room are all located on the same floor and are interconnected. STEAM education encompasses multiple fields, including science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics.
 

In traditional education, functional spaces often feature surface-level symbols. However, adhering to the principles of "interdisciplinary" and "disciplinary integration," the design should focus on the integrated design of space and environment.
 

To achieve this, the designers use windows, partial enclosures, and other forms to break down the boundaries of functional rooms, allowing children to perceive the overall picture of multiple fields, rather than fragmented and monotonous passive learning.

Kindergarten Design
Kindergarten Design

However, the pursuit of overall integration should not lead to the abandonment of the individuality and uniqueness of each field. In spatial details, distinctions are made for different fields.
 

The woodworking and construction studios use large areas of natural wood colors to preserve a sense of natural simplicity, creating a wooden ambiance reminiscent of a cabin in the forest. This natural spatial context invites children to "touch nature," and the space silently "invites" children to switch on their hands-on abilities.

Kindergarten Design

The reading room focuses on creating a quiet reading atmosphere, with warm low-intensity yellow tones to help children transition from high-energy activities to a state of quiet reflection, allowing them to immerse themselves in the world of picture books and imagination.
 

The high side windows significantly improve natural light in the room. The low steps near the windows and the variously shaped seats cater to the diverse individual needs of children.

Kindergarten Design

The central enclosed low bookshelf offers both book storage and seating functionality for children. It also includes a metaphorical "nest" created with a mesh lampshade on top, representing the idea that books are like homes, and children are like baby birds, finding comfort here.

Kindergarten Design

In the design of the art studio, the concept of "leaving space" is used, drawing from the traditional Chinese painting technique. The space provides a "space resonance" that allows children to expand their imagination.

Kindergarten Design

The science and invention studio requires an ample supply of materials to continuously stimulate children's curiosity. In the central area, a circular water pool is set up, and the water ripple mirrors on the ceiling echo the flowing water below. Moreover, the unique hemispherical cabin provides space for children to think independently or explore the unknown, and the ground movement lines and colors trigger endless thoughts in children's minds about the universe and the ocean.

Kindergarten Design
Kindergarten Design
 

Conclusion

From "Educational Space" to "Space Education," designers need to have a deep understanding of children's psychology and behaviors and use various design techniques and elements to communicate spatial language, interpret cultural heritage, and create educational environments through "change, combine, and reconstruct." Only in this way can space achieve its educational purpose and children's physical and mental development can be fully realized.

Project Name
Quanzhou Guanru Kindergarten
Project Type
Kindergarten Design
Design Team
Xi Yuan Kindergarten Design Research Institute