How to create a playful, colourful and inspiring high-quality kindergarten amidst high-tech office buildings in the heart of Hangzhou’s Future Science and Technology City? This question raised by Cade International Kindergarten in Hangzhou was impressively answered by VIRTUARCH. The Swiss architecture company has rich and comprehensive experience in educational projects: from small to large, from kindergarten to university facilities. For this special kindergarten project, the creative minds of VIRTUARCH developed a design that not only convinced the officials, staff and parents, but also was quickly and enthusiastically embraced by the youngest.

Design Nurturing Curiosity, Imagination and Well-being

The Cade Future City Kindergarten Campus Project aims at being the finest and most advanced Kindergarten in Hangzhou, transforming an office building into a kindergarten. This ambitious task was placed in the hands of the experienced experts from VIRTUARCH. A spacious building of around 7,800 m² within office building park needed to be transformed into an island of joy and learning opportunities for kindergarten children. Following the vision and philosophy of Cade International Kindergarten, VIRTUARCH created spaces in which the children now have the opportunity to individually grow by triggering the natural curiosity, imagination and creativity and fostering their physical and mental development.

Playful Inspiration Everywhere

The idea of VIRTUARCH’s designers was to create a continuum of playfulness. The children should enjoy every minute of their time finding inspiring stimuli for their learning and playing everywhere. As a result, VIRTUARCH developed a concept interweaving playful elements throughout the whole building, turning all spaces into one continuous space of joy: Corridors, staircases, even the toilets are part of one big experience. This comprehensive design approach is the consistent realization of the kindergarten’s philosophy: playing is learning.

Playful wooden elements define the corridors

Playing with size: Playful classroom doors for the kindergarten kids

Toilet areas: Open spaces, playfully connected

The kindergarten is integrated in the two East wings of the Future City connected by a ground floor entrance hall and a large terrace above it. Both wings have four floors. The ground floor with its large open areas of the lobby, the library and the kindergarten offices gives the parents and the children a warm welcome. The second and third floors of both wings are reserved to accommodate 16 classes with 20 children. The classrooms are individually designed for the age group of the students ranging from 2 to 5 years old. All spaces implement a natural light concept and are equipped with a premium air con system to protect the health of the children. Wooden materials dominate the interior design in the corridors and in the classrooms. Each classroom has a warmly designed sleeping room allowing the children to have a peaceful nap at midday to restore their energy for the productive afternoon.

The fourth floor of the North tower accommodates the canteen, and on the fourth floor of the South tower the children are educated in the art and design.

Classroom: Warm colours dominate the room; wooden floor, corkboard for hanging drawings, wooden furniture

Physical and Cultural Education Facilities at Its Finest

One of the highlights of the Cade Kindergarten is the heated indoor swimming pool with a huge glass window allowing natural light to flood the pool. A dance room with a big mirror wall supports the full range of PE classes helping the children’s physical development. A cosy theatre is the setting not only for plays but also for music lessons to nurture the musical abilities of the children. The exceptionally well provisioned library is also dominated by warm wooden elements, giving it a calm, warm feeling to ease the mind of the children during reading time when they develop their knowledge and understanding of the world. The steps also function as seating places, giving the room a cosy, informal atmosphere.

A kindergarten swimming pool with a view: Bright, friendly, functional

Mirroring talent: Dance room for the future ballerinas

Multifunction room with stage: Flexible and equipped with a sophisticated light and sound system

A world of books and storytelling: Library space with terraced learning landscape

Turning Existing Elements into an Adventure Experience

The lobby opens to the outdoor playground. The challenge regarding the landscape was to convert an outdoor space originally designed as a green area to look to a playground space interconnected with the indoor learning spaces. VIRTUARCH consequently blurred the boundaries between indoor and outdoor areas, while clearly separating the playgrounds from the surrounding public spaces of the compound. Within that boundary, VIRTUARCH proposed an environment which reflects the original concept. Bright colours and child-friendly shapes attract the children’s attention. VIRTUARCH proposed to take advantage of the existing building characteristics. As a consequence, the rooftop of the ground floor was integrated to serve as additional playground close to the classrooms. VIRTUARCH upgraded the buildings adding fire stairs to match the kindergarten use, taking the liberty of linking the terrace directly to the playground with an additional staircase and a fun slide to give the kids more playful spaces. While the slide shines in silver colour in the sunlight, the fire stair was highlighted in strong orange colours, helping the young children’s orientation in case of emergencies.

VIRTUARCH also integrated sand pits and water play areas allowing the children to discover scientific principles through play. Climbing frames encourage the development of taking little risks.

Drone view of the playground and terrace with the two elements linking both levels: The fire stair (orange) and the slide (silver colour)

Running track

The Cade Kindergarten is a good example of how smart and empathetic architectural design can turn an existing office surrounding into an adventurous space for children, where they can learn and enjoy themselves. This project is only one of many educational projects VIRTUARCH has realized in China and in Asia. If you want to know more about VIRTUARCH’s educational design, please follow us on Social Media or contact us:





PROJECT SIZE: 7,800 sqm

PROJECT DATE: 2019-2020


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