It is extremely difficult for individuals or institutions to launch a kindergarten in China since the land policy. The owner and his wife are outstanding preschool educators. They hope to establish a real world-leading kindergarten in China. However, this old office building with poor sunlight is the only possible site for them.

The original structure resembled a liner. It had limited space and heavily relied on artificial lights, which was against the common expectations of kindergartens. Sunlight, soil and grass are all essential spatial elements to children's growth. It seems to be impossible to be used as a kindergarten.

Out of considerations of structural stability and costs, we have kept the entire structure and created an atrium running vertically through three stories. The design brings an experience of wandering in the woods, columns become trees and beams become bridges to form abundant spatial effects. "Tree houses" provide private spaces for children to read and do handwork. Such design guarantees that all classrooms receive natural light from both sides. The third floor provides a combination of indoor and outdoor activity areas connected by a plastic track. The track is an extension of the atrium and separates out various thematic activity areas.

The kindergarten thoughtfully considers the needs of children at 2-6. The facilities are benchmarked against the needs of children at 2-6, and distinguish between those for children at 1.5-3 and those for children at 3-6. Classrooms adopt soft colors and materials, creating a home-like space where child can fully express their potentiality. The design of the kindergarten has been drawing on the Montessori concepts and principles. Besides safety, we give freedom back to children.

It's exciting that this kindergarten is now the best one in south China. Design and love bring sunlight into childhood.



Total Area: 5000m2

LIU Jinrui, FENG Qiong, ZHU Sijun, LAI Wuyi, GUO Wei, FENG Fei, MING Xiangyi, YANG Huangwei, ZHANG Su, ZHANG Haosheng, ZHANG Endong, XIE Shunbing, LIN Zehui, YANG Xulun

Wandering in the Woods –XinMeng · Montessori Kindergarten by Liu Jinrui in China won the WA Award Cycle 38. Please find below the WA Award poster for this project.

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