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Prototypical Kindergarten

Zoka Zola, prototypical Kindergarten, reference, keija houses China

Keija Houses, China

The quality and joyfullness of the primal form of the circular space lies in its immanent clarity and comprehension as well as in instilling a sense of being included, accepted, and protected.

For this very reason a circular plan with an inner courtyard is an ideal form for a kinderarten.

The simple circular building with logical and uncomplicated concentric organisation allows all children, teachers, administrators, housekeepers and kitchen staff to face each other across the center space of the open courtyard. This creates a safe space for children, which is important not only to children, but also to teachers and parents. The children can be allowed to wander away and explore this space which gives them on the one hand more independence and on the other hand the exerience of community and belonging.

The increased freedom of the children to choose their position and the social dynamic (in this imminently simple circular space) reveal its complex dimension.

The circular empty space, despite its strong architectural quality and despite the excitement and inspiration it provokes, is rarely experienced. Examples of such spaces are the Pantheon, the Plaza de Toros de Ronda in Spain, and the Keija Houses in China (link to references).

Zoka Zola, prototypical Kindergarten, prefabricated elements, wooden structure
Zoka Zola, prototypical Kindergarten, entrance, multi-function hall, circular courtyard
multifunction hall with views into inner courtyard and towards the surrounding neighborhood

  Zoka Zola, prototypical Kindergarten, hallway and classroom, wooden structure

hallway and view into classroom

  Zoka Zola, prototypical Kindergarten, central circular courtyard, powerful space, wooden structure

prefabricated elements

view into central courtyard

Zoka Zola, prototypical Kindergarten, adaptability of scheme, extensions   Zoka Zola, prototypical Kindergarten, adaptability of scheme, other shapes

Zoka Zola, prototypical Kindergarten, circular floor plan

diagrams showing adaptability of scheme to different site conditions

floor plan

Zoka Zola, prototypical Kindergarten, section  
Zoka Zola, prototypical Kindergarten, elevations, wood finish


Zoka Zola, prototypical Kindergarten, detail section, wood structure

detail section


Zoka Zola, prototypical Kindergarten, exterior view, circular shape, view into courtyard

exterior view



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Design: Zoka Zola
Dorothea Schulz, Catherine Budzinski, Darren Poon, Angela Spadoni, Nathan van Zuidam