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"Section 4: 2007 Honor Award Winners"

Section 4: 2007 HONOR AWARDS

  • Yuyu-no-mori Nursery School and Day Nursery (Japan)
  • Vidyalankar Institute of Technology (India)
  • OZW, VU University (the Netherlands)
  • School of Art, Design & Media (Singapore)
  • “A NET OF IMAGINATION”: Yuyu-no-mori Nursery School and Day Nursery

    This project fully integrates the educational program into the design. I am impressed with the simplicity of the solution as well as the wonderful use of natural materials and colors. Don’t we all want to climb on that rope structure! –Tim Dufault

    Location: Yokahama City, Kanagwa Prefecture, Japan
    Designer: Environment Design Institute (Japan)
    Program: Early Education, 0-5yrs
    Capacity: 260
    Completion: 2005


    As the first combined Nursery school / Day nursery in Yokohama City, this project is receiving national attention in Japan as one of the 36 model combined schools for infants in the country. In contrast to previous schools for infants, this child-centered facility accommodates families regardless socio-economic status.

    Play is central for this project. Children develop as humans and learners through play, having a profound impact on intelligence, emotions, and sociability. With these ideas in mind, the planning team programmed a child centered play-oriented environment to develop creativity, imagination, feeling of wonder, and ability to communicate confidently. The design team then shaped the learning environments around three guiding concepts: 1) enable a child-centered nursery, 2) celebrate teachers’ warm engagement with kids and 3) promote child development through a circular play system.

    A large net connecting the 2nd level with a catwalk above celebrates and encourages active play. Children go up and down, play like a swing, and even lay down as if it is a hammock. The net has become the defining feature of the school and is ‘the center of play’.

    In addition to the public spaces, classroom environments are warm with natural woods and daylight and feature alcoves and lofts to further encourage child-scaled activities.

    Juror Comments:

    This truly is an inspirational facility and philosophy for educators of all levels as well as for designers. The physiological and psychological needs of children are so well taken care of. It invites, welcomes, inspires, and “speaks” volumes about the importance of children. — Susan Wolff

    There is a lot to learn from this facility. The thoughtful approach to creating active play and learning space could be a model for similar facilities around the world. It is refreshing to see an approach to play and learning fully integrated into the architecture. — Tim Dufault

    What a great concept: “This is the design of school buildings and grounds in consideration with children’s play and activities, rather than a facility design we can manage children easily.” The big net play structure is an innovation I have not seen used in conjunction with the interior of a building before and must help develop self-confidence and balance in young children. I have an impression that every space, surface and object is there to climb into, onto, under or go around as the “Circular play system” describes. — Jeff Phillips


    EDUCATIONAL VILLAGE: Vidyalankar Institute of Technology

    So thrilling to hear these educators’ openness to a “fresh approach” of incorporating clearly understood values. This kind of imagination is rare in educational circles. The courage and conviction in philosophical beliefs that makes this kind of building possible is palpable. – Beth Hebert

    Location: Mumbai, India
    Designer: Planet 3 Studios Architecture (India)
    Program: College/University – Engineering Focus
    Capacity: 1200
    Completion: 2006


    Starting with a strong commitment to progressive learning, the educational planning team challenged designers to create a facility that would focus first on students needs, second on the educators, and third the management. With decades of experience within the institution, the project’s education team had previously implemented an “academic culture” that allows students to learn in flexible environments with flexible schedules, encourages informal interactions between students and faculty, promotes holistic mental and physical development and encourages the community at large to participate in the joy of learning.

    The new engineering school allowed a ‘re-think’ of current operations, and as the project kicked-off, designers suggested involving students in the process. The result of the exercise refined the educator’s understanding of how the institute actually functioned at a social level. The program brief then expanded to discern subtleties of relational dynamics between faculties, resources, student groups and with the community.

    Architecturally, the project needed to engage a complex design program in an urban context within a developing country. The team chose to explore a horizontal form, which urbanistically allowed an “Educational Village” built within a container of the building envelope. This literal minded village has various groupings of similar requirements in clearly definable structures along a main “Learning Street”. The street serves as the central organizing device as well as encourages spontaneous student interactions. This structure of open public spaces, enclosed semi public spaces and private areas has the spatial connectivity of open plan interiors encouraging egalitarian, communal learning experience.

    On the street, helpful signage intuitively guides community members to their destination. The project is human scaled and provides numerous activities to promote interaction. Tucked in the alcoves between learning blocks, one finds a human sized chess-board, a table tennis court, half-court basketball, a street side café, a book kiosk, a graffiti wall, student work displays, and a suspended amphitheater. Each of these informal and play areas are a source of cultural energy for students and the school.

    Juror Comments:

    WOW. Wild, crazy, funky. I like this project. Its a big feeling inside: lots of variety of space, color, light–very kinetic architecture. I am encouraged by the Educator narrative–there was good involvement in the design process that drew out the need for informal and collaborative space. — Jeff Lackney

    Yes, WOW, indeed. An impressive educational narrative, providing a real feeling that the educator’s openness unleashed a boatload of ideas from the team of architects – a true fireworks display of creative thinking. Delightful interactions between educators and architects. — Beth Hebert

    This school is great! In the basements are the laboratories for students work. Upstairs is different in the way of interacting with each other and the architecture here gives all the opportunities to have fun in other ways. This is a place that encourages learning. — Ulla Kjaervang

    The planners and designers for this school have truly pulled off a dynamic learning environment, providing educators much to work with. I really appreciate the creativity in design that is coming out of new schools in Asia. Educators in these regions are looking to re-engineer the system and are allowing design of the learning environment to play a big role. There is a strong lesson in these schools about the ‘realm of possibilities’ in educational design. — Peter Brown

    I like this project from an architectural standpoint. An interesting design response that took some very specific steps towards making it sustainable. – Tim Dufault

    Feeling positive about the use of ‘alcove’ space, the very cost-effective nature of the overall project, and the focus on “progressive” education. Huge fan of how they pulled off the “Learning Street” — especially given the way the eye is allowed to wonder as it wanders. Particularly appreciate the ’suspended ampitheatre’ that looks over the learning street. I deeply appreciate the way they allowed imagination, humor, and fun to remain front and center. — Christian Long



    This is a BIG project…the images show force and character. The integration between the floors, the lightness, is exceptional! I would like to study in this building. In this building I can feel Holland’s history and its projection to the future… Ana Ines Bajcura

    Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    Designer: Jeanne Dekkers Architectuur (The Netherlands)
    Program: College/University – Health and Wellness focus
    Completion: 2006


    An experimental collaboration between multiple educational institutions, a full-spectrum curriculum and degree opportunities are offered for students interested health and wellness related professions. Unique in Holland, this project marks the first time that different school organizations focused on a common area of study co-located in one building. Because of its size and scale, the building provides a robust presence on the university campus. With a mission to prepare students for academic citizenship and an active role in society, the program encourages students to look beyond the boundaries of their own discipline, as well as beyond the boundaries of their own culture, traditions and philosophy.

    Internally, a high-rise multi-floor atria flows diagonally through the building section like a waterfall. Openings from the south side of the building ensure that the sunlight reaches through the building to the ground floor. In this way the compact–yet light-filled–building opens at every level, freeing users of the confinment often experienced in traditional high-rise blocks. The organically shaped building is soothing and metaphorically suitable for a health care facility. Sloping facades provide unexpected perspectives on all sides. The atria windows are large, reflecting the study-scapes that lie behind them. In the evening especially, the building’s transparency makes a spectacular sight.

    Walking to the building, one is struck by the transparent lower layer, which forms a plinth. As one enters, the focal-point of the atrium is a large oval volume–the presentation room–suspended in space as the heart of the building. This space, literally and figuratively, allows a community of learners, students, and lecturers/researchers to be co-participants in the transparent process of knowledge development.

    Juror Comments:

    This project reflects an educational archetype that was born in the Renaissance period: the University-building as a compact architectural structure that hosts inside a complex variety of uses. Additionally, the building works as a Campus icon, according to its big scale, committed shape (organic layout) and clear inside spatial organization. — Pablo Campos

    This is a really cool building. Transparency is exceptional; the designers got it right. Everyone is on display. Even for a high rise, the sense is open and comfortable with lots of natural daylight, characteristics which have been demonstrated to aid in learning. – Frank Locker

    I like this building. It seems proud and welcoming at the same time. I like the way they have used colors in different spaces, the colors are good integrated in the architecture. This is a great building for education that combines great architecture and wonderful learning spaces. – Ulla Kjaervang

    I like the term “study-scapes” used by the team. The interior architecture is particularly stunning, with deliberate attention to color and design. The mixed-age and mixed perspectives on the theme integrated into a single facility simply makes sense. The building design is an impressive environment for this philosophy. — Amy Yurko

    The program is spot-on, the value to the community is spot-on, and the design is spot-on. We need projects like this this in the U.S. This is one of the most inspiring uses of public money that I’ve seen in a long time. – Peter Brown

    If I go back to my ‘gut’ thoughts, I ask a simple question: Would I want to teach and learn in this space? And the answer is “Yes!” The spaces are inviting, flexible and innovative. – Chris Lehmann

    I really like the “heart” as well. I think this is the first time I have seen that expression used as an almost literal translation. The circulation bridges begin to feel like arteries as well. I would put this on a list of buildings to see on the next trip to Holland. – Tim Dufault


    INTEGRATING ART AND DESIGN: School of Art, Design & Media

    …indeed iconic,…it must genuinely inspire creativity from its occupants. Both the indoor and outdoor spaces provide visual excitement. – Judy Marks

    Location: Singapore, Singapore
    Designer: CPG Consultants Pte Ltd (Singapore)
    Program: College/University – Art and Design Focus
    Capacity: 900
    Completion: 2006


    Rather than imposing a building onto the landscape, the design team for this new School of Art, Media and Design let the landscape play a critical role in molding the building. Located in a wooded valley, the site was master-planned as a green lung for the 200-hectare university campus. The school’s curvilinear courtyard organization is formed by a series green roofs that shelter the glass-enclosed program.

    A unique feature of the building is its transparency and connectivity–both within the interior spaces and with the external environment. The grassy slopes of the green roof, peeling from the landscape as ribbons, allow students to gather informally, bask in the evening sun and soak in the views offered by the green campus. Internal glass walls, allowing one to see through rooms, enhance visual connectivity, promote interaction and facilitate creative exchange. In the couryard, a reflective pond provide a visual respite for classrooms, labs and offices that overlook this courtyard. The exterior space also serves as an impromptu performance platform for students. Tutors eager for an outdoor alternative ‘classroom’ find the courtyard, with its tranquil setting, an ideal teaching space for the creative minds.

    Being an art school, designers deliberately left interior and exterior surfaces unfinished. These ‘blank slates’ suggest serve as giant billboards for creative student expression. Additionally, the changing character of the facade lends dynamism, life and interest to the building as day transforms into night.

    The university is indeed proud of its new iconic building which have not only caught the attention of the entire campus but also that of the local media. Most importantly, the design and spaces complement the aspirations of the school; to be the foremost, art, design and media school in the region.

    Juror Comments:

    This building is just so cool. What’s interesting is how the planted roof is becoming such a prominent design feature for some major new buildings. And finding that feature on an academic building on a college campus is all the more exciting. — Judy Marks

    The emphasis of this school is on embodying Art and the building does that. — Jeff Lackney

    This building is as much about the landscape as the interior scape. It is the first submission I’ve seen that blurs the edges between the site and the building. That is striking. — John Weekes

    This project speaks to “living creativity.” The true beauty of the roofs lies in the thoughtful and useful connections between inside and outside. The roof also serves as a signature to the arts. — Susan Wolff

    This is an excellent example of the power of a simple concept. The hand that created this was very skilled, becasue they made it look so simple. This was not an easy project to design or build, but it looks effortless in its execution. – Tim Dufault


    Article Sections:

    1. Introduction
    2. Summary of 2007 Program
    3. 2007 Patterns of Innovation
    4. 2007 Honor Awards – Full Description
    5. 2007 Merit Awards – Full Description
    6. 2007 Citation Awards – List only
    7. 2007 Recognized Value Awards – List only
    8. 2007 Jury Team
    9. 2007 Jury Conversation #1


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