The Akune Megumi Daycare in Kagoshima had provided loving and caring nursery services to the local community for many years. But they were in trouble. Their boon of being situated on a beautiful coast line in Kagoshima, only several minutes from the East China Sea, had turned into a blight.
The area was just 10 ft (3 m) above sea level and the old building had experienced flooding once before.
Eager to mitigate any type of water risk, the school turned to architecture firm HIBINOSEKKEI + Youji no Shiro, who specialize in childcare facilities, to create a loving and caring building that is in line with their philosophy.
Lead by head architect Taku Hibino, the design team decided to raise the floor level. But by doing so they also incorporated a playful approach to their design by creating a variety of spaces at different height levels, all connected by staircases, slides and even ropes of different sizes. The idea was to create an environment that children would enjoy moving through.
“This kind of space with different height and the stairs & slide that connect them stimulate curiosity and creativity,” says the architects. An additional benefit, they say, is that the space increases the children’s activity level in daily life. “As the fact that lack of exercise of the children has caused reduction of physical ability is a problem recently, we are considering solving this problem by increasing the children’s exercise volume in daily flow unconsciously.” By raising the school to a multi-leveled space the architects managed to solve two problems at once.