“SECOND HOME” FOR THE LEFT-BEHIND CHILDREN: JIANGSU BEISHA KINDERGARTEN
On the initiative of the local government facing shortage of preschool education in rural area, Crossboundaries was commissioned in 2015 to design a kindergarten for the Beisha Village in Fu’ning County, Jiangsu, the first province in China that has accelerated the development of high-quality preschool education throughout urban and rural areas.
Fu’ning County has been well-known for its tradition of advocating education, culture and morality. Located in-between the North plain and the central water network in Jiangsu Province, the county’s seasonal dynamics of agricultural produce still takes up most of space and dominates as an activity and as a way of making a living, putting dwellings and all built environment in the background.
Approaching to Beisha, you would be greeted by the endless fertile plain, its horizon deluded by the mist and just occasionally interrupted by the linearly arranged trees and houses. This is how most of rural Jiangsu is: flat, boundless landscape, as infinite as the skies above it. Once you arrive in the village, the feeling of overwhelming flatness somewhat disintegrates, the skies and soil become just a background collage, sliced in pieces by the tall trees that now dominate the scenery. Approaching the buildings through this natural colonnade feels like a discovery, a special framework that works well with the small, 2-3 stories houses with pitched roofs and brick facades.
And it is exactly this setting, the zoomed-in rural landscape of the Jiangsu flatland that the kindergarten designed by Crossboundaries grew from and ultimately belong to.
Appropriate scale of the project was a crucial starting point of this design and led us in creating a building cluster for Beisha, with required building volume broken down to house-like pieces, integrated by the central multifunctional open space. This integration of the outdoor and indoor is crucial to the early education environment and innate to the rural context.
This Beisha kindergarten functions as a smaller, slightly modified version of village, of which the scale gives the children a sense of familiarity and the interesting building relationships introduce novelty and encourage curiosity. Entering into the gate, children would first discover the main central space and the overall “settlement” surrounded by the trees and then, as they meander in between the “houses” they discover small, secret places tucked away from the main square, perfect for outdoor learning activities and playing Hide-and-Seek, just like what they always do in the villages.
In contrast, a typical school form, a courtyard enclosed by the prismatic volumes and repetitive façade that blocks off the surrounding and limits the view, with its protective, city logic would be a foreign object in this setting, an intruder in existing context, a symbol of inserted institutional architecture, rather than a place where the children would feel familiar and free, and identify it as their second home. And second home is exactly what the kindergarten for many of these children is, in quite literal sense considering that many young parents of rural area seasonally migrate to big cities for work and miss out on big periods of their children growing up.
FUN OF EXPLORATION
In Beisha kindergarten, the second floor pathways are not just connections between areas, they are also combined together into a platform of explorations for children. Once you are up on the second floor platform your experience is suddenly overtaken by the dynamic slopes of the roofs. The endless plain suddenly feels like a mountain gorge and the treetops are within a hand’s reach. This little shift of perspective enables the children to see their surrounding in a different frame and expand their everyday spatial experience.
The materials used for facades are locally available recycled bricks combined with white plaster, creating different faces of each “house”. The window placement on the ground floor, with several square windows of the houses facing each other, establish the visual connection between the buildings through the yards, constantly reframing the views and integrating activities and connecting inside with outside.
Since its completion in 2018, the kindergarten became not only a pleasure land for children but an easy gathering place of their communities. Parents and grandparents tend to chat and share more time during sending and picking up their children.
合伙人：Binke Lenhardt（蓝冰可）, 董灏
设计团队：Tracey Loontjens ，Alan Chou（周业伦），Andra Ciocoiu，郝洪漪
Location: Beisha Village, Fu’ning County, Jiangsu, China
Client: Education bureau of Fu’ning county, jiangsu
Total Architecture Area: 2,815.4 sqm
Number of students: 300
Design period: December 2015 - September 2016
Construction period: April 2017 - August 2018
Completed: August 2018
Architect: Crossboundaries, Beijing
Partners in charge: Binke Lenhardt, DONG Hao
Design Team: Tracey Loontjens, Alan Chou, Andra Ciocoiu, HAO Hongyi
Photographers: WU Qingshan, HAO Hongyi, Mini LIU
Crossboundaries 致力于通过建築设计、环境设计和城市更新方案，营造充满活力、生气的生活空间。我们在创造凝固建筑的过程中，往往要面对到繁琐的技术难题和文化沟通困难。但每次过程后最终呈现的解决方案，总是具有愉悦的材质触感和对人文氛围的深刻思考。 事务所成立于2005年，作为一个拥有国际合作伙伴的设计团队，在北京和法兰克福均设有办公室，设计成员来自全球各国。Crossboundaries以跨国的视野、本土的文化知识和专业技能，催生出独特的空间解决方案。
Crossboundaries contributes to a vital built environment through architecture, environmental design and urban regeneration. We create enduring architecture that often deals with remarkable technical processes, yet always has a pleasant material touch and human atmosphere. Founded in 2005 and organized as an international partnership, Crossboundaries has staff originating from and trained in different parts of the world, with offices in Beijing, China and Frankfurt, Germany. We provide unique spatial solutions deriving from local cultural knowledge and transnational expertise.
After receiving their Masters Degrees in Architecture from Pratt Institute DONG Hao and Binke Lenhardt worked in New York for several years before making their home in China. They both started in the Beijing Institute of Architectural Design (BIAD) before founding Crossboundaries in 2005 as an international partnership. They teach at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) and recently also at Tsinghua University.
Crossboundaries设计范围广阔，从公共到私人项目，从小型企业到大集团，政府部门到慈善机构都有涉及。设计作品及参与项目从数万平米的建筑到数千平的室内项目，其中包括北大附中本校、朝阳未来学校、索易快乐成长中心、爱慕时尚工厂和服饰店、家盒子（北京、上海、青岛），以及同西门子和宝马合作的办公室和展厅。工作室亦参与理论研究，并于第十五届威尼斯双年展参展“穿越中国——中国理想家“，以及2018年于北京举办的CHINA HOUSE VISION大展。
Crossboundaries is working for both the public and private sector, ranging from smaller enterprises to large corporations, from government agencies to non-profit organizations. They completed a great range of small scale interior designs and architectural projects of larger sizes, their portfolio includes Soyoo Joyful Growth Center, Family Box, Aimer’s Lingerie Factory, showrooms and offices in collaboration with Siemens and BMW. The office is also engaged in theoretical research projects such as Citymakers and House Vision, exhibited at 15th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia. And also in 2018 BEIJING HOUSE VISION.
Crossboundaries的作品受到各界的关注和认可，多见于国内外一流建筑及设计媒体。同时也获得了国内外众多重要奖项， 近期包括2018及2019年度德国设计大奖，2018年度Architizer A+大奖，2018年度Architecture MasterPrize大奖，2015、2017、2019连续三年获评《安邸AD》“AD100”年度设计师，并常年入围各大国际奖项决选。
Crossboundaries’work has been published across a range of leading industry magazines and is also frequently featured in online design media. We have received multiple international accolades, most recently the 2018 and 2019 German Design Award, Architizer A+ Award 2018, the Architecture MasterPrize 2018, 2AAA 2018, etc., and were shortlisted for the WAN 2018, Architizer A+ Award 2016, etc.