Japanese design studio UZU completes sloping nursery school next to rice fields
Otonoha School is a nursery school that looks to develop children’s relationship with nature and music. The symbol is a tree with musical note. Rice fields are left all around the city. In the surroundings, architects UZU made the floors connected to the fields of rice ear and the hills so that the children can climb and discover new viewpoints.
The children become familiar with how the Japanese staple food rice is grown through the school’s scenic location. The youngest children will see the scenery of farming outside their windows from the room on the first floor every day. 2 year old to 5 year old children experience the farming with farmers in the neighbourhood. They plant rice, watch living creatures, harvest rice, make rice balls with their parents and have lunchtime parties.
Children are encouraged to ‘feel the rhythm’ when they play instruments at the school and they also feel the sound when they run together. A room on the second floor can be divided from one-room to twelve spaces by wooden partitions and lace curtains with various sizes and atmospheres.
The deck to the south connects to a big staircase and a green slope where one of the school teachers planted clovers. There is also a generous field for playtime. The inside and outside are connected and children travel through with a mixture of sounds such as the sound of instruments, the voice of children, the sound of wind in the field and insects.
Two artists were employed to add the softness of nature to the interior. The light and curtains are harmonised with the motion of wind and children. UZU concludes that ‘everything around the environment becomes as one’.