Child Care House / A little town for little people
Child Care House is a group home and kitchen concept located in Kumamoto City, not far from Kumamoto castle. For a project like this, it is important for each child to have their own privacy, but using small communes as a design concept, we were able to design a space that also allowed for a connection between each resident. The project is essentially a large park dotted with buildings – the idea being that children are free to roam and play in the common green spaces, but are also allowed privacy in the built spaces. In the very centre is the main building for both staff and children – its location ensures easy access and maximised privacy and security. This interlacing of private spaces and public spaces create the illusion that this is a space for children to play with each other, to communicate and enjoy themselves, rather than be indoors, confined and restricted. To further enhance this, each built space is a small, square unit with windows that face outwards, connecting every room to the outside, the public spaces, where children can see their friends playing outside wherever they may be.
The arrangement of buildings means that a variety of interesting spaces are generated – corridors, corners, edges, pathways, nooks and crannies that are bright, dark, tall, short – ideal for children to play. Every space is gifted with warm light, cool shadows and lush greenery, a perfect environment for its inhabitants to have picnics, hold outdoor classes, plant trees, run in the sunshine or relax in the shade. Solid buildings tend to be obstructive impasses that are difficult to approach, but through the use of glass walls, the lines between inside and outside become blurred, more controlled inside activities are only separated from the excitement of the outside by an invisible membrane that can only be detected by touch.
Human connection is the soul of this project. Every aspect of the Child Care House’s design is there to facilitate interactions between its residents. Too much of this is lost in today’s modern world. What better way is there to care for someone than to communicate, share, and enjoy your surroundings together?
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