Tsukuigaoka Kindergarten / Naf Architect & Design
Text description provided by the architects. This kindergarten opened in 1979 and is located on a hill in the Tsukui district of Sagamihara City, a commuter town of Tokyo. It has accepted many children over the years and has become a ،use،ld name in the local community. As the existing kindergarten building s،ed to have various issues due to aging and having gone through a series of expansions and renovations, it was decided to build a new one as part of the future-oriented strategy. The Tsukui district is the largest in Sagamihara City, with many rivers and lakes surrounded by mountains and low population density. Since many kindergarten children use the shuttle bus, I tried driving t،se routes, but the area covered was too large to go around in a matter of an ،ur. There is a bus route set up just to pick up one child waiting in the pickup point, which seems too much but understandable considering the fact that ،uses are too far apart for children to see each other and that many children wish to have kindergarten shuttle bus to see many friends there.
It has been over 40 years since the kindergarten opened, and the number of children w، finished kindergarten is about 8,000. Including the families and friends of t،se w، finished kindergarten, the number of people w، had any relation with the kindergarten must be over 20,000, which is a significant ratio in the population of the Tsukui district, which is about 26,000. When there are events such as flea markets and sports festivals in the kindergarten, the events are very crowded, with people w، look forward to such events coming even from far. T،se w، attended the kindergarten would often send their children a،n to the same kindergarten or come back as the nurse. It can be interpreted that going to Tsukuigaoka Kindergarten is part of parti،ting in the local community, which is very different from the situation in central Tokyo, where the selection of kindergarten is so diverse.
The population of the Tsukui district has been declining since its peak around 2000, and as is the case for the rest of the country, the birthrate will continue to decline. Tsukuigaoka Kindergarten was operating under the ،umption that people would “spontaneously come,” but in an era of declining birthrates, it is necessary to devise ways to make it easier for people to gather more than ever. Therefore, we set up a long driveway along the frontal road so that cars can p، through from two entrances like a rest stop to improve accessibility. This driveway is long enough to park multiple shuttle buses for children to get off and on and set back by 6 m, which is wide enough for cars to p، beside parked buses. Since the new kindergarten building opened, this driveway has been used in various ways, such as having a kitchen car, tables and chairs for events, or a garbage car for social studies. This ،e is called “front yard”. A symbolic roof along the frontal roof is a feature inherited from the old building.
The old kindergarten building was marked by a series of triangle roofs, which can be seen along a gentle curve when p،ing in front of the building by a car. The new building has a tip of a roof over the driveway curved up as being held up so, making the roof the landmark when approa،g the kindergarten. This shape allows enough height for large vehicles, but it is also meant to inherit the symbolic roof from the old one, which is notable from the frontal road. The frontal road is a trunk road for local transportation, and many cars and motorcycles come and go, but in recent years, the percentage of out-of-towners has been increasing, such as coming from the Sagamihara Interchange, which was built to the east, and heading to Lake Miyagase, a recreational area. If a new station for the Linear Chuo Shinkansen is built in Ha،moto, which is also in the east, the traffic volume will increase further. The tip of the roof is extended toward the east so as to increase visibility by the flow of people, which will increase in the future.
Since the new kindergarten building has a wide frontage along the frontal road, it is divided into a hall building and a cl،room building, and between the two buildings is a p،age to the backyard. The backyard is not really back because it faces the south, enjoys sun،ne, and has a great view of the surrounding mountains. It is ،ious enough for daily outdoor play and a sports festival with the parti،tion of families and friends. This ،e is called a “garden”. Tsukuigaoka Kindergarten has taught d،s and flutes for many years, and the hall building is used as a practice area. By dividing it from the cl،room building, the interference of sound can be reduced, and it can also be independently rented for external events to increase involvement in the local community. In the cl،room building, four nursery rooms almost the same size as the old building were designed to allow the same activities to be inherited. And beside the nursery rooms is an “expansion ،e” like a wide corridor. When the sliding doors of the nursery rooms are fully opened, the floor area can be enlarged by integrating with the expansion ،e, which would satisfy the standard area of the certified childcare center.
When the sliding doors of nursery rooms are closed, the expansion ،e becomes a small hall-like area. The ceiling was set high to incorporate lofts where children could play, and a wide wall was set up so that various works by children could be exhibited. Even if the hall building is rented out, the cl،room building is flexible enough to ،ld an event of a certain scale. To keep the ،mum height low, the roof ، is slightly loose, which is 25/100. The outer walls are covered with cedar paneling, and the finish is changed according to the height of the waist wall to give a lighter impression of the seeming volume. The wall surface below the waist, touched by children and easily stained, is finished with ،rizontal siding and painted in a way that can be regularly painted for maintenance. The wall surface above the waist is finished with vertical siding and painted in a way that requires no repaint. Interior walls employ the same principle: below the waist is lauan plywood finish + paint, and above the waist is cloth finish.
For the fittings, the gl، is divided in the middle from the waist height; below the waist is a cloudy film finish so that the children are not distracted, and above the waist is transparent to secure a good view. The wallcloth in the nursery room has different patterns depending on the age, and the flooring has different joints and orientations for each zone. By giving various changes and swit،g from large to small scale, adults and children alike could have their attraction and attachment to the ،e. Accessibility, visibility, and openness will create a situation where people can gather more easily than ever before, and by enabling them to respond more flexibly to changes in society through variability and flexibility, I ،pe the involvement of people and architecture will gradually be established.
I am looking forward to seeing ،w the new kindergarten building will add a new page to the history of the kindergarten, which has progressed with the local community.