African Design Magazine May 2016 - Page 45

International project Flower + Kindergarten L ocated at the heart of a high-rise housing development in the South Korean capital’s Seocho District, the five-storey-high Flower Kindergarten was designed to provide a colourful landmark for its homogenous surroundings. Jungmin Nam and his studio OA Lab wanted to offer children a variety of welcoming spaces, alongside plenty of opportunities to interact with nature. “Most of the kindergartens in the city have poor architectural design, reflecting economic values, regulations and small lot sizes in the highly dense city,” explained the architect. “This project is about providing a dynamic physical environment for education as well as interactions between children and nature,” he says. One of the things he did to achieve this was create corridors that also function as learning and play spaces. These start on the ground level and continue all the way up to the third floor. A staircase winds around the perimeter wall to connect these spaces. It includes a slide as well as stairs, and also frames a series of more intimate play areas. “The stair itself becomes a playground,” Nam explained. “The space created below and above the stair is utilised as a children’s play den at children’s scale.” The building has seven storeys in total. The four main floors accommodate classrooms, while the two basement storeys contain a canteen, staff facilities and parking, and the uppermost level is a screened roof terrace. The classroom floors each contain three rooms, all with curved corners, as well as the flexible corridor spaces. These are identified by different colours, painted across the ceilings and window frames rather than the walls. “There are subtle difference between ceiling, wall and window frames, thus the kindergarten’s built environment encourage children’s colour sensitivity,” said Nam. Externally, the building is clad with Crema Bella, a type of cream-toned limestone. Square windows in four different sizes are dotted across all four facades. ROJECT TEAM Click here to read more CLIENT: Yewon Kindergarten ARCHITECTS: OA-Lab – Jungmin Nam PROJECT TEAM: Byungsoo Kim, Jungsoo Seo, Keunbo Yang, Woongjin Byun, Soohyun Kim, Sung-joon Chae STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: Thekujo MECHANICAL ELECTRICAL ENGINEER: Bow ENG CONTRACTOR: Yemi Construction Inc. PHOTOGRAPHY: Kyungsub Shin