Mukou Leimondo Nursery School
by Archivision Hirotani Studio

| 6 comments
 

A playground covering the roof of this kindergarten in Kyoto Prefecture, Japan, is dotted with wooden obstacles that function as light wells for the nurseries underneath (+ slideshow).

Mukou Leimondo Nursery School by Archivision Hirotani Studio

Designed by Japanese architects Archivision Hirotani Studio, the Mukou Leimondo Nursery School accommodates six nursery classrooms that each feature a double-height ceiling.

Mukou Leimondo Nursery School by Archivision Hirotani Studio

These angular chimney-like structures burst through the roof of the building, creating wooden sheds that are used as seating areas and hiding places for children playing on the rooftop lawn.

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The architects coined the name "houses of light" to refer to the structures. "Children are able to run around the 'houses' or take a look down into the nursery on the floor below through the roof light 'windows'," they explain.

Mukou Leimondo Nursery School by Archivision Hirotani Studio_dezeen_19

Windows are positioned at the highest points to allow natural light to funnel down into the classrooms, which are each painted with a different vibrant colour.

Mukou Leimondo Nursery School by Archivision Hirotani Studio

"The inside of these 'houses of light' differ in shape, colour and direction of the light from above, making very special spaces within the nursery," said the architects.

Mukou Leimondo Nursery School by Archivision Hirotani Studio

The classrooms centre around a large multi-purpose room with timber panels lining its walls and floors. A staircase is located inside this space, providing access to the rooftop.

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Mukou Leimondo Nursery School is one of several schools in recent years designed with a rooftop playground because there wasn't enough space to add one at ground level.

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Vietnamese architects Vo Trong Nghia Architects are currently constructing a preschool with a vegetable garden on the roof, while Spanish architect Guzmán de Yarza Blache recently added an elevated sports court to a school in Zaragoza.

Mukou Leimondo Nursery School by Archivision Hirotani Studio_dezeen_21

Read on for more details from Archivision Hirotani Studio:


The Mukou Leimondo Nursery School

"The House of Light" and "The Little Village"

This nursery school is situated in a comparatively densely populated residential area of Kyoto prefecture. Due to the limited land area, it was not possible to secure the space necessary if the nursery building and the nursery playground were to be planned on the same plane.

Mukou Leimondo Nursery School by Archivision Hirotani Studio_dezeen_17

Thus, began the consideration of a "single-level nursery building with a roof playground." As a result, we were able to realise a bright and spacious nursery by using light wells on the roof and by providing lofty ceilings, and, also, to accommodate an ample, sizeable garden on the nursery roof itself.

Mukou Leimondo Nursery School by Archivision Hirotani Studio_dezeen_16

Within the nursery, "houses of light" have been arranged where the children are able to feel being in their own homes. The inside of these "houses of light" differ in shape, colour and direction of the light from above, making it a very special space within the nursery.

Mukou Leimondo Nursery School by Archivision Hirotani Studio

The light from these openings in the ceiling changes with the time and the season, creating new play methods initiated by the children themselves as they notice such changes and tell about them to their playmates.

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On the roof, the "House of Light" emerges as a three dimensional link between the interior space on the ground floor to the roof garden. On the roof , the House of Light are like wooden houses, bringing about the image of the "Little Village" as they dot the lawn space of the roof garden.

Mukou Leimondo Nursery School by Archivision Hirotani Studio_dezeen_1

It is here that the children are able to become one of the village people as they run around the "houses" or take a look down into the nursery on the floor below through the roof light "windows" or take a look through a window to view the "bullet" train, each one finding a place to their liking and, in so doing, pass away their time at the nursery.

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The "Sky House" and the "Little Village" themselves are each a new form of play tool in the form of a space to foster observation, reception and communicative capabilities.

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Ground floor plan - click for larger image
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Roof plan - click for larger image
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Long section - click for larger image
  • Concerned Citizen

    When I saw those “houses of light” on the roof, nothing made me think of chimney. So please explain the connection.

    I like the idea of bringing light in from above, but the spaces are totally void of features at the user level. I suppose the architect forgot about all those little people.

  • Rae Claire

    I wouldn’t worry. The kids will fill it up with their energy and imagination. And the adults will bring in the props – the toys, the books, the furniture. (AND their love and guidance). I think it’s great; I know kids will love that roof.

  • Rae Claire

    I think it’s just the idea of an opening through the roof – chimney-like.

    • Concerned Citizen

      No, not close. Not in function, not in appearance, not in concept. Just another uniformed reporter attempting to make something sound original.

      • threehundredbeers

        It’s the plain-clothes ones you really need to watch out for.

  • content citizen

    Brilliant spaces. Reminds me of old Victorian schools, just need lots of nic nacs, artwork and stuff hanging from the ceiling to make it a bit messier.