Classrooms surround courtyard garden at DS Nursery in Japan
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Light-filled classrooms surround a courtyard garden at DS Nursery in Japan

Small-scale fittings, blackboards walls and round toilet cubicles are incorporated into this kindergarten in Japan, designed by architecture studios Hibino Sekkei and Youji no Shiro around a garden playground (+ slideshow).

Kindergarten by Hibino Sekkei

Japanese studio Hibino Sekkei partnered with sister company Youji no Shiro – which specialises in design for children – on the design of DS Nursery, located in Ibaraki Prefecture.

Kindergarten by Hibino Sekkei

The playrooms, dining areas and toilet blocks that make up the pre-school enclose a planted courtyard furnished with climbing frames and playhouses.

Kindergarten by Hibino Sekkei

According to the architects, this radial plan draws inspiration from the region's many wind farms, and they liken the rooms to the blades of a windmill fanning out around the garden. "This project is based on the concept of wind," they said.

Kindergarten by Hibino Sekkei

Floor-to-ceiling windows puncture the walls, offering wide views of the garden playground and bringing fresh air into the classrooms. They open out to terraces that are sheltered by the over-hanging roof.

Kindergarten by Hibino Sekkei

The dining hall is fronted by a row of sliding glass doors, allowing the space to extend out to a decked terrace that is also sheltered by the roof and creating an area for children to eat outdoors in good weather.

"Children enjoy lunchtime in this comfortable space," said the architects.

Kindergarten by Hibino Sekkei

Deep-set windows create seating nooks between the playground and one of the corridors, which connects classrooms with the office and toilet blocks.

Kindergarten by Hibino Sekkei

In the classrooms, low sideboards and small-scale wooden furniture put most of the fittings within easy reach of the small-statured occupants.

Kindergarten by Hibino Sekkei

Wooden beams cross the high white ceiling and pendant lights are suspended on long flexes over rows of wooden tables.

Kindergarten by Hibino Sekkei

Blackboard paint has been applied to one playroom wall, allowing children to draw directly on its surface. A wide archway punctures this wall, offering a route through to a cloakroom beyond.

Kindergarten by Hibino Sekkei

In the lavatory, neutral-toned pods with low open-topped walls enclose toilet cubicles and a panoramic window faces out onto the courtyard.

Kindergarten by Hibino Sekkei

Urinals mounted on a contrasting black triangular prism at the back of the space are screened from view by their angle.

Kindergarten by Hibino Sekkei

Photography is by Studio Bauhaus, Ryuji Inoue.

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Site plan – click for larger image
Kindergarten by Hibino Sekkei
Floor plan - click for larger image
Kindergarten by Hibino Sekkei
Sections – click for larger image