Completion Date: September 2016

 

Kindergarten Campus, The International School of Choueifat, Ajman, United Arab Emirates
ATI Consulting Architects & Engineers

The International School of Choueifat Ajman emerged as a new addition to the SABIS Schools family in the emirate of Ajman, United Arab Emirates. It reflected client’s need for a modern, state-of-the-art school facility that portrays their educational philosophy. The kindergarten building (KG) forms part of an ample campus, facilitating the education of more than 4,000 students (K-12). Also included are facilities for indoor and outdoor sporting activities, a cafeteria and a performance hall. Situated on the South-East entrance of the complex, the KG campus is part of the first phase built and its distinctive modern look presents a key starting point for future complex development. Following the client’s guidelines, the kindergarten building now houses twenty-seven spacious learning classrooms, complemented by a library, laboratories, various activity rooms and indoor play areas, accommodating the youngest students (grades KG-1 and KG-2).

The key design principle originates from the child’s needs and his imaginative perception of space and surroundings, with the use of colour as a powerful medium to transform the space. The main challenge was the client’s request for very ample, clean structures with simple elevation finishes, without utilizing any exterior cladding, but instead using only plastered exterior surfaces. These surfaces should be in line with the ethos of promoting safe environments for children while incorporating a holistic approach to a design that compliments education through its architecture. The resulting school building will help develop a child’s education and promote extroverted behaviour in children, during their early and most formative years, through the deliberate use of exterior and interior colours. The design team focused on the use of colour in the building’s design, transforming its masses into a series of creative dynamic forms with colourful and attractive facades and interiors.

Designed as a playful interlining composition of clean geometrical masses, different autonomous pavilions are interconnected with abundant corridors and green exterior patios, providing ideal lighting condition and ventilation for internal spaces. In order to clearly identify various sections of the building, combining different tones of warm, bright colours, was inserted into the façade—creating the playful experience of coloured shapes and masses with unsuspecting interior gardens. The combination and rhythm of coloured façade surfaces are fragmented in the form of vertically-designed compositions of stripes, which capture the movement of the child through using colour as the medium for their spatial perception.

Colour usage smoothly connects the outside of the building to interior spaces, creating a variety of light, cheerful experiences that positively affect children’s imagination and perception. The colours were carefully studied and chosen to create a lively and inviting playful experience inside and out through network of paths and spaces. The colour scheme was based on colours ranging from orange and yellow tones for lower kindergarten grades, to blue and green tones for higher ones, captivating the variety of different space dynamics that encourage the flexibility and freedom of movement

The inside of the building has a life of its own, using unique patterns of interweaving coloured stripes that slide through the space, creating a fluent, dynamic ambiance of adventure and interaction. The main corridors have a ‘way finder’ concept for three- and four-year-old students. They find their classrooms by following coloured stripes on the floor, which head to the classroom with a specific door colour. Multiple openings in the form of glazing and roof atriums create a constant connection between the interior space and the green patios—offering a colourful effect of light on shadows, which bathe the wall colours with a tonality of bouncing shades.

The colour presents the main medium for all spaces: marking the floors (creating spaces to walk, run and play), and decorating the walls and ceilings with playful stripes, pixilated fields and mosaics. There are four main colours used: blue, green, yellow and orange (red was purposefully avoided) and three complementary colours: white, grey and beech wood on the furniture. Each block has a main and a complementary colour. For instance, the blue block will be mainly blue but also contain hints of green. Instead of using various colours, the walls were kept white, bright and clean, in order to reduce hyperactivity and increase concentration. The colours chosen within the classrooms have been particularly selected so as not to overstimulate the children but rather focus their attention on the learning activity, creating a warm environment that children feel comfortable with.

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