Domus has a feature on a new addition to the Fuji Kindergarten in Tachikawa, Tokyo. Architects Tezuka Yui and Takahara designed the space around an existing Zelkova tree with a unique history. The finished structure is part playhouse and part classroom, and the result is a wonderful take on how to achieve balance between the two.
The Zelkova tree is the focal point, not only in terms of location but ideals. The tree is an inviting feature to play with and around; it’s also a living object to learn from and in proximity to. Play is highlighted in the 1-meter tall passageways that are exclusively for kids; there’s even a rope for climbing on the tree. Learning is made possible in unconventional classrooms that let teachers engage students as they see fit. Further inspiration from the tree is apparent in the materials used and the use of height.
Everything comes together to create a seamless transition between class and play in a structure that can be appreciated by kids and adults.