Pok Fu Lam, Hong Kong
1,500 SF Preschool and Childcare Center Renovation
Situated in a small ground floor space below a residential tower in Hong Kong, Morningstar Preschool makes use of two core design elements in a children’s educational facility – wainscoting and lighting – to create an innovative educational space. PlusClovers uses these two elements to unify rooms that are separated and to convert circulation space into spaces of education. The bamboo wainscoting transforms from benches to shelving, to reading “pads” and to climbing walls, moving in and out of class rooms and hallway areas. Shifting from something you sit on, stuff things in, rest upon and climb on, the wainscoting not only operates spatially but also as a tactile learning tool – challenging students to re-work it, re-use it and interact with it. Exposed lighting conduits are configured into “climbers” with fluorescent pedals, creating a distinctly different lighting atmosphere from the classrooms. PlusClovers conceived of these ivy-like lighting conditions as frescoes that allow the students to interpret and recognize different patterns of lighting, material and organization. The architecture, its materials, mood and atmosphere deviate from normative classrooms both in appearance and design – transforming from one thing into another, never stabilizing in identity. The sign on the exterior for instance folds across the door and becomes the ceiling under which students remove shoes, while copper mixing bowls become sinks with different faucets in the bathrooms. While physically constrained, the ensemble of environments results in a landscape of opportunity and learning, of different sensations and interpretations.