“Ring Around a Tree” by the Japanese husband and wife team, Yui and Takaharu Tezuka, is a small addition to the unique Fuji kindergarten in Tokyo, Japan they designed back in 2007. As the title suggests, the structure wraps around a tree: a Japanese zelkova that has particular significance to the locals. Over 50 years old, the zelkova has long been a place for the local children to climb, as well as find shelter from sun and rain. The new structure built around the tree was designed with those activities in mind, but also adds an educational dimension to the space.
The kindergarten itself has a very interesting design and the philosophy behind its development has been extended to the “Ring around the Tree.” Tezuka architects were approached by the directors of Fuji kindergarten to redesign the existing school as something that resembled their “Roof House” completed in 2001. This particular house features a communal roof deck that includes a kitchen and shower. Today, Fuji kindergarten is a one-story oval-shaped building with a roof deck that covers the entire perimeter and provides space for play and class activities.
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