A nursery school in Matsuigaoka, Japan, was inspired by two types of open spaces: those found in nature, and those where children love to play.

The structure of the two-story school is topped with an undulating rooftop that mimics the surrounding hillside and tree-covered slopes. On the second level, a large terrace extends over a quarter of the first storey.

Inside, various rooms are connected through open atriums with high ceilings. The sloping roof is then visible through triangular skylights that welcome natural light.

‘We felt it important to design the room environment, including temperature, light, ventilation and noise,’ say architects Shyunsuke Koseki and Itsuki Takamatsu of KOSEKI Architect Office. ‘It was important to control natural light, wind and heat from the sun while cutting out heavy equipment.’