The Italian International Kindergarten is located by the waterfront in a linear and winding premise. The design capitalizes on this length by arranging the classrooms and play areas in an alternating sequence, therefore the classrooms can gain more space, visually and physically, via the sliding glass partitions. We anticipate the classrooms and their adjacent play areas can assume different identities and aesthetics depending on the subjects being taught.
A wavy pattern, similar to the plan shape, weaves through the design tying the ceiling, light feature, walls and floor design into a coherent whole. It offers a contemporary and consistent style that is easily recognizable and targeted to facilitate the school’s operations.
As a team we are conscious to integrate Italian culture with the design. The school envisions participation of the close knit Italian Community in Hong Kong, and as a result the play areas of the school double as Piazzas, where social events, seminars, and performances etc. can promote social cohesion. Part and parcel to the idea of community is the generous Kitchen, which can encourage collaboration in both the children and the community to share the rich and wonderful culinary experience of Italian Culture.
The Reggio Emilia approach is centered around the children’s exploration and self-directed learning. On one hand the spatial design is critical, in that children require a comfortable and safe learning environment to nurture their curiosity. All the spaces are generous in the Italian International Kindergarten, and the classrooms and windows are designed to maximize daylight into every corner of the premise. The choice of colour is of a natural palette and we have a variety of materials to offer different visual and tactile experiences to the children. On the flip side, the spatial design is at times only secondary and subservient to the teachers, curriculum, props, toys, activities, and the camaraderie of school life that are pivotal to every child’s development. We believe that we have found a good balance in the Kindergarten and that the design would continue to serve the students, teachers and parents well for years to come.
Rick Lam, Director, Architecture Commons Limited (ACL)