Yamaikarashi Nursery School Niigata, Japanese Early Childhood Education, Japan Junior Education Building, Architecture

Yamaikarashi Nursery School in Niigata

7 June 2023

Design: Takeru Shoji Architects Co

Location: Nishi-ku niigata-city, Japan

Yamaikarashi Nursery School Niigata Japan

Photos ©Koji Fujii(toreal)

Yamaikarashi Nursery School, Japan

Takeru Shoji Architects Co., Ltd presents YNS / Yamaikarashi Nursery School the Center for Early Childhood Education and Care, a nursery school dedicated to the principles of engaging “naturally with nature”.

Yamaikarashi Nursery School Japan

Located at the end of a winding pathway, atop of a sand dune, this single-story wooden building filled with characterful rooms and recesses provides a diverse base for children. The goal of the project is construction of a large childcare environment that extends beyond the nursery rooms, the building, and the nursery yard, to the surrounding area as a single continuum, and the establishment of a mutually watchful relationship in which the whole village is involved in the children’s learning and play, and for the children to revitalize the village.

Yamaikarashi Nursery School Niigata

Yamaikarashi Nursery School Niigata

Who or what is this nursery school for?
Childcare researchers and workers, parents, and local residents held a series of workshops to discuss the benefits of reconstructing a nursery school on the suburban site. With an aging population and declining birthrate, emphasis was put on how a nursery school could benefit both the children and the surrounding area. The participants concluded on a vision to create a nursery school like a village, and to foster a village like a nursery school.

Yamaikarashi Nursery School Niigata Japan

The vaguely bounded, expanding nursery school will allow children to move leisurely between interior rooms, exterior playgrounds, and the village itself. Additionally, the nursery school could be open to villagers as a place for community interaction and visitations.

Yamaikarashi Nursery School Niigata Japan

Under the site conditions, large timbers were prohibited from being transported, thus wooden trusses were built on the field by combining small timbers to create large nursery spaces. Trusses with apexes facing up and down are combined to create a series of truss roofs. Moving the intersection of the trusses from the top of the partition walls allows for a more expressive environment in each of the rooms, while an open space above the partition provides a sense of connection.

Yamaikarashi Nursery School Japan

The winding, narrow streets that characterize the village are drawn into the nursery school and become exterior corridors that continue to the back of the building, resulting in a village-like atmosphere for the children.

Yamaikarashi Nursery School Niigata Japan

A childcare support office and deck plaza are situated in front of the building, which will be used for local farmers’ markets and food truck events, mixing community activities with nursery school activities.

Yamaikarashi Nursery School Niigata

In addition, air conditioners and total heat exchangers are installed under the prefectural cedar flooring, creating an underfloor air chamber so that children are not exposed to direct airflow. Radiant heat works on their bodies, creating comfortable conditions for learning and play.

Yamaikarashi Nursery School Japan

Since the nursery school’s opening, the children have exhibited greater socialization between their age groups, encouraged by the fluidity of the cross-sectional layout of the grounds. Furthermore, as the children spend more time outside, the number of senior citizens attracted to the site while out for a walk has increased. Under the eaves of the nursery school building, parents engage with one another between drop-offs and pick-ups. This vaguely bounded nursery school is creating infusing flexibility and expansion into children’s learning and play, responding to everyone’s wishes and stimulating a new form of everyday life in the village. It seems that the very seeds of creating a nursery school like a village, and fostering a village like a nursery school, are beginning to sprout.

Yamaikarashi Nursery School Japan

Yamaikarashi Nursery School in Niigata, Japan – Building Information

Architectural Design Office: Takeru Shoji Architects Co – https://takerushoji.jp/en/

Completion: End of 2021
Type: Architecture
Principal use: Nursery school
Total floor area: 1586.5 sqm
Structure: Wood
Location: Nishi-ku niigata-city, Japan

Structural design: Takeru Shoji+Yuki, Hirano (Takeru Shoji Architects)
Project architects: Tetsuya Tanaka+Takuto Hashimoto (Tetsuya Tanaka Structural Engineers)
Mechanical equipment design: Toshiaki Honma (CAD System IPE) 
Electrical installation design: Hitoshi Kuwano, Kenichiro Taiko (J.Tsukasa design) 
Lighting design: Mariko Naito (Komorebi design)
Contractor: Yoshiaki Sato, Hiroshi Sawamura, Jyuinichi kawase(HIROSE CO., LTD.)
Project partner: Masayuki Sato (Professor, Faculty of Human Sciences, Waseda University)

Photograph: © Koji Fujii(toreal)

Yamaikarashi Nursery School Niigata Japan

About Takeru Shoji Architects
Takeru Shoji’s desire is not just to create a living space to solve the changing needs of a house,
commercial area, or public spaces, but to also create a living environment that makes those in it happy.

The architect wants not only those owning and residing in the building to feel moved and feel its unique characteristics, but also those living nearby or simply passing by. Takeru Shoji believes that the creation of an “open” environment through designs is more important than the actual buildings themselves. By “open” the architect refers to a place that is well suited for people and provides them, as human beings, a comfortable place and time to just be.

That differs greatly from the concept of designing a building purely in pursuit of function and convenience.

Some might find the concept vague, and perhaps a bit difficult to understand, but that vagueness is precisely the basis of Takeru Shoji’s current designs.

Yamaikarashi Nursery School Japan

Photograph © Koji Fujii(toreal)

Yamaikarashi Nursery School, Niigata, Japan images / information received 070623 from Takeru Shoji Architects

Location: Nishi-ku niigata-city, Japan

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