Monday, July 25, 2011

ring around a tree

First, it was converted churches, then indoor slides. Now, it seems that my latest architectural obsession is tree houses. Instead of a tree house to live, play, or get away in, however, today's tree house is a kindergarten in Fuji, Japan.

As you can see from these images, Ring Around A Tree, by Tezuka Architects, is a pretty incredible school. Aiming for unconstrained spaces that encourage children to learn through their senses and the body, it was designed to function without the need for furniture, leaving as much free space as possible:
The space created by Tezuka seems to have just two floors, but for the children the building has six floors with volumes that are one meter high. The compressed spaces, which can only be reached by crawling, further the freedom of movement and ability to use the body as a means of learning.

Elements like railings and handrails are very slender, and almost disappear with a height to depth ratio of 1:40. The interior floors are made of wood and all outdoor areas are covered with soft rubber mats to help cushion the children's inevitable falls. Children move up and down from all sides, turning this into a narrative architecture of moving images. A visual turbine driven by the energy of childhood and nature.
Read more about this beautiful, tree-top school in domus.

(Via the fox is black and domus)

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