Fuji Kindergarten, a kindergarten located in Tachikawa, Japan, was built as a ring around a Zelkova tree with a storied past. A glass, steel and wood construction closer to the tree itself lets children play and explore in the kindergarten’s yard.


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The tree, which is about 50 years old, was nearly uprooted during a typhoon. It became totally lifeless and gray before, against everyone’s expectations, it recovered and became healthy once again. Before the kindergarten was even built in 2007, the tree was a popular place for kids to climb and hang out.

Now, the surrounding building’s windows face inwards at the tree so the children inside can see it all the time. For recess, or when they’re waiting for their bus, the kids can play on the platforms around the tree. An adult would only see 2 floors on the structure, but small meter-high levels give children places to explore where adults might not fit.

More info: tezuka-arch.com | fujikids.jp (h/t: mymodernmet)