我们在这里制造的娱乐设施只有一个滑梯。屋顶上没有一件娱乐设施。事实上是我们放弃了，因为没有钱，但是我们认为没有娱乐设施的结果真的很好。屋顶本身就成为娱乐设施。这里所需要的是一个屋顶。施工期间，我们去参观了高迪的米拉公寓。我们的目的是去看看屋顶，那里是完全陌生的，有很多不规则的烟囱和窗户。事实上，我们在十七年前就参观过它。米拉公寓没有娱乐设施。很明显，因为它不是幼儿园，但是，无论是四岁的孩子还是一岁的孩子，我们都不能阻止乱跑和呼喊。无论他们有多少次摔倒、擦伤甚至哭泣，他们还是继续四处乱跑。这个过程不是只有孩子享受其中。成人也会兴高采烈。顺便说一句，没有一个娱乐项目出现在宫崎骏的电影中，但是却被孩子们如此喜爱。成人和孩子都喜欢宫崎骏的电影。出现在《龙猫》中的“梽月和小米住宅”是设计师对日本和西方住宅形式演变的胡乱结合。在这个场景中，他们找到了一个通向二楼的隐蔽楼梯。从圆形障子（shoji screen，日本房屋用的纸糊木框，译者注）伸出的头警告了他们。但是，我们都喜欢的是，它竟然就是非常普通的建筑元素。它不是一项发明装置。重要的是，它不是“给予”，而是“发现”。 如果它被做的适合儿童，成人就不能喜欢。毕竟，成年人和儿童有不同的视角。同时，儿童的视角与每个成人也不一样。在身体力量方面，他们的后背是不同的。所以他们的爱好也不同。如果每件东西都被给予，我们不能从自身选择视线。娱乐设施包含成人给儿童玩耍的各种工具。有了操场，玩的方式受到了限制。儿童在寻找自身位置方面是专家。在富士幼儿园的屋顶上，孩子们依靠天光能够找到位置。在屋顶连接成环形的第一天，老师带领每一个班级在屋顶上转圈，但是孩子们绝不会和老师们呆在一起。他们聚集在天光周围，不肯离开。在绕了一整圈之后，只剩下很少的几个人跟在老师身后。保育室就在下面，伙伴们的头从上向下偷看是很有意思的。屋顶是倾斜的。正因为倾斜，跑动才变得有趣。即使那些不经常跑动的孩子也将绕着屋顶比赛。据说，孩子们在早晨要跑三十圈，而三十圈就是5500米，在东京就没有任何地方，幼儿园的学生在没有强制的情况下跑这么远的距离。
■spaces with unobstructed views and no distinctions
In this kindergarten, there are no distinctions between the colleagues. For better or worse, rooms at the ends of a building unavoidably tend to be segregated from the others, but in this kindergarten building there are no hidden places. The place designated as the directors’ office is a corner at one side of the entry hall. Rather than a directors’ office, it is merely a directors’ corner. The directors are also the security guards. Basically, the problems that have been occurring in schools over recent years, including bullying, are created by the presence of hidden rooms. What occurs in closed spaces is unknown. The children have no refuge. Teachers and pupils in closed spaces don’t know what is occurring in the adjacent spaces. The spaces in this kindergarten building are in full view of each other.
■ Playrooms without walls
There are no walls in this kindergarten. There are just piles of paulownia wood blocks to indicate the area of each class. Because there are no walls, sounds are also transmitted between spaces. The sounds are not blocked by the acoustic absorption material on the ceiling. The rooms are only divided by casually stacked-up furniture, like building blocks. If you scramble up onto this furniture, the neighboring classes can be seen. The problem of inaccessible rooms does not arise here. If a problem occurs in a classroom somewhere, help will soon come from a nearby room. With no hidden rooms, children will automatically adopt socially acceptable behavior patterns. It’s also no problem to go to an adjacent classroom for a moment. According to the directors, spaces with a lot of noise are better for raising children who have the ability to concentrate. If you think about it, children don't study in their rooms. Children study in noisy kitchens. Junior high school students go to the library to study, but the library is by no means a tranquil space. People can recognize the voices of others even in the bustle of Shibuya. A peaceful, sympathetic space is perhaps an abnormal condition that doesn’t originally exist in society.
■ Furniture that softly partitions rooms
The original boxes that partition the interior of the building were invented by "Jyo Gakkai," a student organization at the Musashi Institute of Technology. Three years ago, over a period of only three days and nights, they produced five hundred boxes for a campus festival. There was no money, so they made really crude constructions using MDF that still had a strong smell of headache-inducing adhesive, but it was a great success. Although these are merely boxes, they allow innumerable children to gather. The children like the fact that there are no requirements. Even if we offer to help, these children running about will very diligently pile up the boxes. Even with no requirements, they will try to get into the narrow spaces. If you give orders, children won’t work, but in reality they like to work. With luck, most of the standout pupils here will one day belong to our studio at the university. Based on our impressions of the effectiveness of this idea, we decided to collaborate with the students even more than before.
■ Water wells in the nursery rooms
The image of the washroom in a nursery room is that of an outdoor well. We want the kindergarten pupils to casually chat around these wells. Even having installed so-called walled washbasins, there are no walls in this kindergarten. Besides, rather than washing one's hands while facing a wall, we decided it was more fun for everyone to gather together, cheering and shouting. The waterspout faucet is a molded flexible tube. Inside as well as outside the sink, you can freely turn to your friends, and we were worried about disasters, but unexpectedly the children understand. At present, it is being happily used without any trouble.
■ Naked bulb lighting
The lighting is naked light bulbs. Although naked light bulbs do not provide the brightness of fluorescent lamps, this teaches children the way light is made. Strings for turning on the lights hang inside the rooms. However, even if one is pulled, it is only attached to the few lights surrounding the string. To turn on all the lights in a room, it is necessary to go to each place and pull the strings. There are no partitions in the rooms, so naturally there are no walls in which to place the switches, and no walls to divide the lighting areas. Children gather in the places where the lights are turned on, creating a local place. A light dimmer function is included in the switch for each light. Although the purpose is to extend the longevity of each lamp, another purpose is to allow the children to visually check the filaments of the light bulbs that have become extinguished. Children who graduate from Fuji Kindergarten will know why lamps shine. They will also know the relationship between a lamp and a switch.
There are no balustrades in the Roof House. The kindergarten directors said that it would be good if this kindergarten building also had no balustrades. When we made the Roof House, the husband eliminated the balustrades by merely saying, "there were no balustrades on the roof deck of our previous house, and looking around the neighborhood there are no other houses with balustrades on the roof." Yet a kindergarten without a balustrade is impossible. The married couple that run the kindergarten made a proposal for a device in which children who fall could be caught by a net projecting out from the eaves, but this was no good. We had no answer to the question of what the children who were so caught would then do. The allure of having no balustrades lay in the eaves. The eaves are not just a problem of appearance. Sitting on the eaves is comfortable. Finally, after a period of trial and error, we were able to keep the eaves seating by encircling the roof with slender balusters at a maximum spacing of 11cm, too small for a child’s head to enter. Feet can pass through an 11cm gap, unless they are especially big ones, and most adults can also hang their legs over the eaves. On the day the building was handed over, four hundred and fifty kindergarten pupils sat on the eaves. A thousand pairs of socks danced on the eaves. All the people involved couldn’t stop their tears of gratitude.
The eaves have been lowered to the legally permitted limit. The height of the ceiling facing the courtyard is only 2.1m. A man of normal height can easily reach the eaves with his hand. 2.1m is sufficient for a child. The lowness of the roof means that the top of the roof is near to the underside of the roof. Looking at the roof on the other side of the courtyard, events on the roof can simultaneously be seen. The roof deck slopes toward the courtyard, so even if a person goes further back on the roof, their whole body is visible, right down to their feet. If you jump a little from the garden, you can touch the hanging feet of the children.
To cope with falling dead leaves, a wide-open horizontal gutter was specified at the eaves. The collected rainwater falls from gargoyles in four places into four large rain drain pans in the courtyard. When it rains, the children gather around the waterfalls from these gargoyles. The children love this flowing water.
■ Nets around the trees
Around the trees, we made use of the ideas of the married couple that run the kindergarten. Holes have been inserted in the roof for trees to project through. We initially tried surrounding them with a 1.1m-high handrail, but the children could pass through it without any trouble, so the final result was a net specifically designed to surround the trees. Although it is difficult to climb a zelkova tree from ground level, it is easy to do so from roof height. Even today, the surroundings of the zelkova trees swarm with children.
■ Directionality of the roof
The roof deck is roughly aligned in a single direction. With an oval, the structural lines would probably be applied radially, but the shape of this building is not an oval. There is also no center to be aimed at, nor an index for its transformation. Trying to apply radial boards to the model was really uncomfortable. The building was originally defined with distortions, leading to a condition in which an accurate deck would have to bend the rules. While the building seems to have a center, it is a space without a center. In this kindergarten, neither the desks nor the furniture are aligned in rows. Rather than altering it, furniture that does not lend itself to alignment in rows was chosen. The kindergarten pupils sit in randomly dispersed directions, only turning their heads toward the teachers when necessary. The places under the roof are entirely equal, including those of the kindergarten directors.
■ Distorted oval
The oval has been distorted. This is the result of scanning in a hand-drawn sketch, and linking it with spline curves. It indeed caused trouble for our staff and on site. There is no regularity to the variations in the curve, and there are also parts that are close to being straight lines. Inaccurate construction is not responsible for the swaying of the eaves when you stand on them on site. Although the roof is sloped to follow the water drainage slope, the eaves on the outer perimeter and inner perimeter are each fixed. On the other hand, the width of the building expands and shrinks in accordance with the sketched lines. As a result, the roof appears smooth but is actually the three-dimensional curved surface of a delicately changing hyperbolic shell. A hand can instantaneously give answers that cannot be achieved on a computer. When solving delicate site relationships, such as preventing the trees from protruding, a mouse is only a hindrance.
■ Entirely openable kindergarten building
This kindergarten building is used entirely open for two thirds of the seasons throughout the year. This has already been tested, because the building was built in two phases and so half of it has been in use since summer. Therefore, the basic state of this building is with the windows open. The sliding doors directly follow the distorted oval shape. With the ground surface and room interiors at almost the same level, there is no sense of having to take off your shoes, and the distinction between where outside stops and where inside starts doesn’t apply. This kindergarten is an outdoor corridor. Going to each place is like taking off your shoes to visit a house. There are no slippers. Thinking about it, putting on slippers when indoors is a strange custom that only exists in the Japanese educational environment. Even in a residence or a workplace, there are no slippers for the general public. Put strongly, even in the cold of midwinter, your bare feet won’t be cold if Korean stove-type air-conditioning has been installed throughout the building. Nor does it have the unnatural heat of floor heating that uses electricity or warm water. It is a microclimate that envelops the entire building.
■ Mountain under the stairs
To reach the slide, you ascend a stair to ascend a mountain of soil about one meter in height. Because the stairs are low, we considered that there would be no injuries even if someone fell, but to be honest, it was also because we were aware that children would enjoy the heap of earth. The shape of the mountain was prepared by our students from the university. If we used a power shovel, it would unavoidably become an unpleasant crew-cut shape. The mountain was difficult to make, but as we expected, the children love it. No children fall from the stairs and get injured, either. There is a problem, however. The children noticed that the soil of the mountain is softer than the ground surface, and so every day they scrape some off to make mud pies. It has now become a very steep slope. We must again go and pile it up with our students.
■ Play equipment without requirements
The play equipment that we made here comprises just one slide. There is not a single piece of play equipment on the roof. The truth is, we gave it up because there was no money, but we think the result of having no play equipment is really good. The rooftop itself becomes the play equipment. What was needed here was a roof. During construction, we went to see Gaudi's Casa Mila. Our purpose was to go to see the roof, which is full of strange, irregular chimneys and windows. Actually, we had visited it seventeen years previously. There is no play equipment at Casa Mila. That’s obvious, because it’s not a kindergarten, but neither our four-year-old child nor our one-year-old child could stop running around and shouting. No matter how many times they fell down and grazed themselves and started crying, they were soon running around again. It is not only the children that were enjoying it. The adults were also cheerful. Incidentally, not a single item of play equipment appears in the movies of Hayao Miyazaki, which are so beloved by children. Adults as well as children enjoy Hayao Miyazaki's movies. "The house of Satsuki and Mei" that appears in My Neighbor Totoro is a designer's muddled combination of Japanese and Western-style house extensions. In one scene, they search for a concealed stair to the second floor. They are alarmed by a head that projects from a round shoji screen. However, what we both enjoyed was that it was a very ordinary architectural element. It wasn’t an invented device. What is important is that it is not “given,” but “found.” If it is made to fit a child, an adult can’t enjoy it. After all, adults and children have different sightlines. At the same time, a child's sightline is not the same for each person. Their backs also differ in physical strength. Their preferences are also different. If everything is given, we can’t choose sightlines for ourselves. Play equipment comprises tools devised by adults to give children ways of playing. Playgrounds are given, and ways of playing are restricted. Children are experts at finding locations by themselves. Children can find locations on the rooftop of the Fuji Kindergarten by relying on the skylights. On the first day the roof was joined in a loop, the teachers guided each class around the rooftop, but the children never stayed with their teachers. They gathered around the skylights and didn’t move. While making a full revolution, only a few people remained behind the teachers. From the nursery rooms below, the heads of friends peeping from above seem interesting. The roof is sloping. Just because of this slope, running becomes fun. Even the children who usually don’t run will race around this roof. There are said to be children who do thirty laps in the mornings, but thirty laps is 5500 meters, and there is nowhere in Tokyo where kindergarten pupils would run this distance without compulsion.
■ Tree roots and foundations
To preserve a tree is to preserve its roots. With regard to zelkova trees, the spread of the roots is only the span of the branches. Therefore, there are no foundations around the tree roots. The roots extend from the courtyard across the width of the building to the exterior face of the oval. At least the parts under the building do not cause an increase in weight, so flat slabs can span from foundation to foundation. To prevent the areas around the roots being infiltrated by the alkali compounds in concrete, a sheet underlay was installed prior to the leveling concrete. The digging and soil stabilization proceeded while avoiding the roots, and it was more like an excavation site than a construction site.
■ Outdoor faucets
Faucets for outdoor use are indispensable for the garden of a kindergarten. Before we made basins for outdoor use, our students investigated various kindergartens, including the nursery schools our own children attend, and discovered not a single one of their basins was unblocked. Of course, there are probably no problems at prestigious schools, where they have people who clean very often as well as a selection of well-behaved children, but this is usually impossible. At Fuji Kindergarten, we observed why they become blocked, and saw that the children get together and use shovels to jam mud pies into the squares of the grille. That’s why they get blocked. Depending on the kindergarten, only the faucets stand high, and the drain holes do not appear unless they are excavated. For ordinary concrete drain pans to be visible in this kindergarten would be unsightly. The image of the exterior faucets is like grass growing up from the ground. The freely curved faucets grow from the ground, and pour water onto the ground. Round slices of tree trunks are arranged on the ground, and water enters their crevices from below ground. Large water drain pans have been installed underneath.
■ In conclusion
Our scheme is the "end of an era." The end of an era is a treasure house of "joys" that have now been abandoned. Modern conveniences have deprived children of sensation. They don’t know that when it rains, the soil gets wet. They don’t know that if a person is hit, they get injured. They don't know the reason why a light bulb glows. What we want to teach through this building is "common sense.” Common sense comprises those values of human society that are unchanging, even across eras. Yesterday, we spent the whole day visiting the family of the Roof House. When we first met them, the sisters were in the second grade and fourth grade of elementary school, and they are now in the first grade and third grade of high school. Still, the atmosphere flows unchanged from those days. We think the Roof House will probably still be unchanged when this married couple reaches the end of their lives. And we think that the Fuji Kindergarten will be the same even after fifty years have passed.
This project was first initiated by Emily Pilloton, founder of Project H Design, while volunteering as an instructor at the Kutamba Aids Orphan School in South West Uganda.
The school was in the process of being relocated to a new building courtesy of Architect Matthew Miller and Architecture for Humanity.
While there, Emily saw that the teachers were very involved with the new building and they were excited about the effect the new building would have on the quality of education. It was at this point that she became interested in possibly collaborating with the school and contributing to the new location. The idea to design a math teaching aid came about while Emily was teaching math classes to the students. She saw how the students struggled with math and felt that there was a huge design opportunity to help.
Although other subjects needed attention as well, she felt math would be a great jumping off point due to it's universal and quantitative properties. Using a universal subject would also allow us to eventually implement the idea in other locations as well. (4 new construction are already planned to appear in the US this spring). The project was developed by Heleen de Goey, working for Project H as an intern and Dan Grossman as the Lead Designer in collaboration with other designers from the New York chapter.
Through our research we came up with many concepts which addressed our needs, but in the end we decided creating an outdoor learning environment would be most beneficial to the children's education as well as the school. We wanted to make a place where children could cooperate, be active, be creative and most importantly have fun.
It is my understanding that the Learning Landscape is not so much a place where children can study, but rather an environment from which they can learn, is this accurate? How does it work?
I have read the website and know that the landscape is designed for games such as “Match Me,” “Math Musical Chairs,” “Which One Is Missing?,” and “Around The World.” how does the landscape facilitate these games, could the games be played without the landscape?
Yes, that is correct. The basic nature of the landscape; a grid of four by four made out of car tires buried half way into the ground, allows it to be interpreted in many different ways. We have created a space which can be adapted to facilitate different games and learning activities. A way to adapt the landscape is to write numbers on the car tires using chalk, these numbers are a part of the games and for example represent the answer to a math equation, they can be erased and adjusted to an appropriate level for the students. The first round of games provide basic math concepts like calculations, geometry and logic at the same time.
However, by erasing the numbers and adding ropes, you can turn the playground into a giant peg board, also adding benches makes it a good place for assembly and debates as well as an outdoor classroom. Lastly the car tires can just be a place where the children can relax and play during recess. By simple adjustments or additions a new function can be created, that was the goal of this project.
Another advantages of the basic nature is that it also provokes creativity among the students and teachers to come up with their own games to play on the playground. We saw this during our visit to Uganda when the teachers were telling us about games which would work really well on the playground and the children came up with the idea to play 'Tunnel ball,' a game where they have to throw balls through the loops of the car tires.
The first Learning Landscape was built at the Kutamba AIDS Orphans School, why was this school selected for the first Learning Landscape, is there anything special about the design or mission of the school that drew you to the site?
This school was the place where Emily initiated the plan to create a math tool with Project H Design. We already had a connection to this school which made it easier for us to investigate the opportunities we had to develop with the playground. The teachers of Kutamba were incredibly helpful and enthusiastic about the plan. Without their help and commitment it would have been impossible for us to organize the construction of the playground. Their commitment is also crucial to ensure the educational value of the playground. I have no doubt that the children will play their own games on the playground, but the teachers are needed to instruct the children during the educational activities.
设计团队：美国罗得岛设计学院工作组Peter Tagiuri + Yong Huang + RISD (Rhode Island School of Design)