日比野设计成立于1972年，现在由专门为幼儿建筑项目设置的Youji no Shiro，KIDS DESIGN LABO，以及专门面向老年人和身体不便者的FUKU SHI KEN三个部门组成。日比野设计在幼儿教育建筑设计方面有着几十年的经验，我们针对这个话题采访了日比野设计的创始人日比野先生，了解他们对于幼儿教育建筑设计有哪些经验和思考。
HIBINOSEKKEI was established in 1972 and it has spent many years in children educational architecture design. Now HIBINOSEKKEI consists of three departments: Youji no Shiro and KIDS DESIGN LABO for children-oriented design, FUKU SHI KEN to design facilities for the elders and the disabled. In this article, we focus on children educational architecture design and interviewed the founder of HIBINOSEKKEI, having a clearer picture of what they have done and how they think in this specific aspect.
1. Youji no Shiro成立的初衷是什么？为什么关注幼儿园和学校的设计？
Why did you establish youji no shiro? Why did you pay attention to architecture design for children?
▼日比野设计工作室场景，office of HIBINOSEKKEI
Most architecture studios in the world are doing various kinds of architecture, though it doesn’t mean that they could design high quality projects. To design a building, it is not enough to only know building technologies. It is necessary to understand that how the building would be used. During the years from 1972, when we established Hibinosekkei, to 1990s, we have designed different facilities from kindergartens to universities, as well as some projects other than educational facilities. After 2000, we decided to focus on one professional aspect and provide high quality solutions to our clients. Thus we established the brand of Youji no Shiro with speciality in educational design. Education would change the growth of a person. Although teacher plays the most important part of education, we have to design the right space which could facilitate the effect of education.
2. 在幼儿设计方面，为何分别设置Youji no Shiro和KIDS DESIGN LABO？二者规模如何？两个部分之间的关系是怎样的？
Why did you separately establish youji no shiro and KIDS DESIGN LABO for children design? How many people in each department? What is the relationship between them?
“幼儿之城”是日比野设计中专门设计教育设施的部门。许多教育设施虽然空间质量很高，但是由于家具、设备、制服、logo等未经设计，导致设施整体的概念被弱化。当然，我们可以选择现有的家具、设备、制服，但是既有的物品并不能与我们的理想完全一致。这样无法设计出我们理想中的教育环境。“世上没有的东西我们可以自己创造。“基于这样的想法，我们成立了KIDS DESIGN LABO这家公司，为教育设施提供高品质的家具、设备、制服、logo等配套设计。
Youji no Shiro is a department special in education design in Hibinosekkei. There are many educational facilities with high space quality, while the furniture, equipment, uniforms and logo design is not accordant, which could weaken the whole concept of the project. It is easy to use existing furniture, uniforms and logos. However, the on shelf goods could never help us build the ideal education project. Thus we came up with design these items by ourselves and established KIDS DESIGN LABO. It is a company to provide high quality furniture, uniform and logo design for the educational facility.
After many years of design for children, what is your design philosophy? Europe also has advantage in children’s architecture design. Compare to Europe, what is different in the design of children’s architecture in Japan?
About 20 years ago, We went to Europe to study different cases of educational project design. After years of observation, I found that there are many projects with interesting design but none was designed according to the education content. We don’t think they are real educational facilities with high quality. In Hibinosekkei, we have education expert and our designers would keep up learning the educational theory in the world to meet requirements of different educational projects. Compared to the children education project in Europe and Japan, Hibinosekkei and Youji no Shiro could do much better in combining architecture with education.
Safety should be considered as an important factor in kindergarten design. How do you balance the safety requirement and children’s need to play?
Does safety only mean to keep the children safe in the facility? I don’t think so. We believe that children could earn various experience in the facility including getting injured. Only then they could know how to keep themselves safe outside the facility and this is the real meaning of education. It is more important that teacher should teach to help children spend a meaningful day in the facility, than to overanalyze the problem of safety.
Why did you blur the boundaries of interior and exterior in your projects? What meaning does it have for children’s growing?
Nowadays, children spend much time playing inside the house, so that blurring the boundary between interior and exterior space is very important. It could entice the children to go outside and increase their time of outdoor activities. Natural elements is also a significant point in the design as nature changes constantly, which could stimulate the children’s interest to learn.
What is the advantage of the open and bright toilet? What influence does it have on fostering children’s awareness on gender and privacy?
In most educational facilities, toilet is always arranged on the dark side, which results in a dark, cold and stinky space where children dislike. It is a trend to use the techniques in room design to design open and bright toilets. We could also use the same design in educational project. By designing the toilet in a place with sunshine, we create a clean space loved by children.
Your projects are always simple with plain colors. How do you choose the materials for a project? How could your projects stimulate children’s curiosity and creativity?
As I have said, the idea that children like bright colors is created by adults. In fact, there are many children who prefer plain colors. Educational facility is not amusement park, which is consist of dramatic colors and different characters. Educational facility is a space for children to create something. It is a place that children could fill in their own colors, which is similar to the artist to create a painting on white pape. Thus we try our best to create a simple space with natural materials, including wood, iron, glass, etc. We keep the materials in their original colors because we don’t want to deceit the children. Simple design leaves space for children and could stimulate their creativity.
What is the relationship between children’s project and the nature?
Nature could influence adults and children in a good way. For children, it has better influence than adults. Trees and flowers could attract insects followed by birds. This would never happen in a garden with artificial lawn. Children could contact with the plants, insects and birds which they have seen on the books. In addition, unlike toys and other recreation facilities, natural elements would change constantly through days that children will never be fed up with them.
Children population is falling year by year in Japan. Facing this reality, what changes will you make in your design philosophy and company strategy?
Facing the situation of falling children population, what we could do is to create spaces that people would like to leave their children in and convey our idea to the public. In fact, many educational facilities are boring spaces with fake playground or artificial gardens without nature. In those facilities, the only thing in the teachers’ mind is to ensure the children to go back home safely, which is far from real education. We believe that if we could change the current situation, people would recover their will to have children and raise them up.
There will be a lot of projects completed in China in 2020. What is different between the design of children’s project in China and that in Japan? How did you meet the requirements from Chinese market?
I must say that most of the education facilities in Japan are not real for education. Our design is different from other projects both in Japan and China. What makes us distinguished is that we design for children from our heart, which is the decisive point in educational project design.
What is ideal children’s architecture in your mind?
We should not design educational facility from the view point of adults. The adults always consider something as dangerous or too hard to maintain. They care about the cost and will be worry if the children are not in their sight. However, the children may think the opposite. They want to face the danger, and take chanllenge of it. They care nothing about maintaining. Sometimes they prefer to hiding from the adults. Compared to fixed bright colors, they are more into painting freely by them selves. Only by understanding children, could we create the ideal architecture truly for children.