“CHILDREN’S FOREST”, A KINDERGARTEN WITH FUJI YAMAA IN THE BACKDROP BY TAKASHIGE YAMASHITA OFFICE ARCHITECTURE
Nestled in the picturesque hills at the foot of Mount Fuji is the playful “Children’s Forest” kindergarten created by the Japanese architectural office Takashige Yamashita Office, reports APE-MPE. The space caters for holistic development of children up to five years of age and embraces the wooded environment to encourage in the young memories of the surrounding forests.
The first visit to the site revealed to the architects a shelter surrounded by hinoki trees, where colorful sunlight casts shadow patterns on the forest floor. This sparked the design strategy, which captures the idea of a sunny retreat nestled in the woods. The undulation of the ground and its elevation of three to four meters towards the western edge of the site was preserved. Recognizing these natural features as invaluable elements of children’s education, architects embraced them to offer children an authentic connection to their environment.
The “Children’s Forest” was designed as a group of cube-shaped units, each dedicated to a specific age unit, with additional planning for temporary care spaces and a lounge for kindergarten teachers. The structure’s units are placed at varying ground heights and angles, each oriented to frame unique views of the forest and surrounding area. A terrace opens onto the wide grassy play area, while the rooms nestled in the forest provide a peaceful atmosphere conducive to focused learning. A central courtyard between these converging volumes opens to the sky with a curved skylight.
The concept of interconnectivity drives the design of the architectural office. Ramps and intermediate spaces facilitate a seamless flow between rooms, creating an indoor landscape where even in rainy weather children can play, crawl and climb. At the core of the structure, a multipurpose room can accommodate up to 150 people for games and events (https://www.instagram.com/p/Cv-3d6vOmwx/).