SAKO Architects

SAKO Architects

Beijing, CN | Tokyo, JP | Fukuoka, JP



Kaleidoscope in Tianshui is a kindergarten located in Tianshui City, Gansu Province, China. The first fascinating feature is using ten different colors that apply to a total amount of 438 pieces of colored glass as the main design element. The team adopts the color elements on the places above the glass doors and windows, including the handrails of corridors and stairs. It supposed to be the kindergarten that applies the most significant numbers of colored glass in the current world.

In the daytime, the sunlight sheds into the classroom through the colored glass, forming colorful lights and shadows that evoke children's imagination and creativity. At night, in contrast, the glowing lights from the interior emit out of the windows that create an impressive and beautiful night scene. 

The second feature is that all the openings in the kindergarten are arched. The traditional cave-like form of dwelling in the Loess Plateau, where Tianshui City located, inspires the idea of the arch. To practice the concept, the team arranges the arched windows in different sizes with scattered positions, making this building looks like a birthday cake. 

The third characteristic is the multi-functional atrium surrounded by classrooms and equipped with floor heating and air conditioning system. This space can function for various activities in different seasons. The glass ceiling above the three-story atrium allows natural light to come through. The windows around the atrium can be opened for ventilation in summer and closed to trap heat in winter. 

The colored glass in ten colors creates a gorgeous atmosphere by applying to the handrails of the corridors and the stairs, which encircle the entire atrium. Sunlight pours into the atrium and passes through these colored glasses to form colored shadows of various shapes. These colored shadows overlap onto each other to create completely different colors from the original ten colors. 

Since the change of the sun's rays at different angles, the light and shadow move between the vertical wall surface and the horizontal ground, forming long and short colored lights and shadows. This phenomenon makes the atrium a vibrant and exciting change with the external environment in every minute during the daytime. The entire space is like a giant rotating kaleidoscope with constantly changing colors and patterns. 

The team not only designs a fascinating space but also improves the efficiency of the area by the holistic consideration of the local cold climate. Children of different ages can also play in this atrium and live together every day. Therefore, this comfortable and beautiful space can help them develop a sense of cohesion and solidarity. 

Besides, the playground on the roof is a safe and enjoyable space for the children to look down on the broad view of Tianshui City. When the children grow up, they will also remember such spectacular scenery and be proud of their hometown.

Our goal is to inspire the infinite creativity of children through this impressive building as they grow up. We expect this kindergarten can be embraced by everyone and become a new landmark in Tianshui City.

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Status: Built
Location: Tianshui, CN
Additional Credits: Project Name:    KALEIDOSCOPE in Tianshui
Type: Kindergarten
Design Type: Architecture & Interior Design
Location: Tianshui, China
Floor Area: 2,770㎡
Design Firm: SAKO Architects
Principal Architect: Keiichiro Sako

Architectural Design : SAKO Architects 
Interior Design: SAKO Architects
Manufacturers: Vanceva 
Engineering: Beijing Yanhuang International
Architecture & Engineering Co.Ltd 
Landscape: SAKO Architects
Client: SOHO China
Photo credits:  CreatAR Images

Instagram: @keiichiro_sako
Contact e-mail: [email protected]