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Perform Design Studio, Sanhuan Kindergarten, Lian He

Three hexagons: Sanhuan Kindergarten in China

A new, three-grade system has been launched by kindergartens in China. Perform Design Studio, an architectural practice based in Shanghai, has taken this restructuring into consideration in its design for a nursery school in the city of Yangzhong. The classes for children of different age groups are positioned in three interconnected hexagonal volumes, each with a courtyard of its own.

All three volumes have identical ground plans but a varied number of storeys. Numerous vista lines and a cascade of flat roofs offering open spaces on the various buildings are the result. In each case the classrooms are positioned on the top floor, with library rooms, multi-purpose halls and teachers' offices located below.

The courtyards differ in character and materiality. Small children are housed in the single-storey building, which has a greened courtyard; middle-grade children are taught in the adjacent, two-storey volume, where the courtyard consists of a wooden play platform, while older children are accommodated in the third volume. This has a concrete-paved courtyard in which rainwater can be collected for a paddling pool that finds use in summer. An outdoor amphitheatre adjoining the second courtyard is the focal point of the kindergarten complex.

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