Bintaro Jaya is one of the many suburban areas of Jakarta that is constantly growing. As one of the highly congested real estate development, there is a high demand for educational facilities. Many kindergartens and pre schools are built in residential areas, appearing in even the smallest neighborhood units.
Among the many kindergartens in Bintaro, the Shining Stars School has survived for more than ten years, located in two former houses that are joined together, the building began to deteriorate and the need for space was a crucial issue. Rooms had been added to the original structure, taking up almost the whole site, making it impossible for natural light and air to enter the school. Among other problems, the main street in front of the school became a busy street that created noise and air pollution.
Because of the new proposed layout and the buildings poor condition, the architect and clients decided to tear down the original building and start from zero. A limited budget also became one of the important issues that laid down the basic concept for this school. Exposed concrete, hollow bricks, reclaimed wood from crates, other local materials, and lightweight structures are used. The floor-to floor height was reduced to 3 meters. Local materials such as hollow bricks and ceramic tiles are arranged in new patterns using local craftsmanship to give it a contemporary feel. Reclaimed wood are used for doors, wooden decks, and furniture.
Small courtyards with lawns are inserted into the site to create sound barriers, bring natural light inside, help cross ventilation, and increase the water catchment area. Doors can slide open to join 2 or 3 spaces together, allowing the school to hold the students performances, graduation ceremonies, etc, to accommodate a large group of people. A wooden deck that covers the sandbox can be lifted to create a temporary stage for performances. Previously, the school had to rent spaces in other buildings for performances and graduation ceremonies, and transport the children to nearby parks for them to be able to enjoy the trees and fresh air. Now the children can run and play on the grass. A group of small fruit trees are planted in pots on the roof, an element to educate the city children who mostly have seen the fruits, but never the trees.
For some of the students’ parents, it took a while to accept the raw qualities of the building against their preconceived perceptions of what a school should look like. A concept offering the luxury and quality of space versus expensive materials, and a new appreciation towards materials and that exist around us. Hopefully, this school can educate the adults through their children.
Shining Stars Kindergarten Bintaro / Djuhara + Djuhara originally appeared on ArchDaily, the most visited architecture website on 24 Feb 2013.