Xiangyu Guo

MArch I

Between a Kid and Nature

Advised by Belinda Tato 

Over the past several decades, Taiwan is undergoing the transition from an agricultural to an industrial economy. Industrial pollution, excess consumption, and excessive belief and reliance on technology and construction are resulting in deterioration of the natural environment including the shortage of water resources, deterioration of water quality, damage to the ecosystem, loss of habitats of plants and wildlife, etc. Meanwhile, surrounded by booming digital technologies, kids growing up in urban areas are getting much fewer connections with nature than ever before. While age three to six is the critical period kids form their value of the world and nature, it is essential to “explicitly educate children in both the ethics and practices of sustainability to promote a sustainable earth.”1 

Pedagogically, the thesis studies the curriculum of project-based-learning methods rooted in the Reggio Emilia approach to understand the key features of kids’ learning process especially related to their appreciation of nature. Architecturally, the thesis is questioning: Framing the ordinary, enlarging the subtle, capturing the fleeting moment of nature . . . being an interface between a kid and nature, could architecture be a lens through which kids are observing, imagining, experiencing, and exploring nature? Could all seemingly ordinary natural elements be exceptional from the eyes of a kid with the interface? 

As the design project, instead of a traditional fixed kindergarten building, examines the possibility of a curriculum-shaped, year-calendar-based kindergarten, an infrastructure and setting system located in a wetland border possessing rich natural elements with diverse sensory experiences and seasonal changes to uncover the questions proposed above. 

1 Julia L. Ginsburg and Shannon Audley, “‘You don’t wanna teach little kids about climate change’: Beliefs and Barriers to Sustainability Education in Early Childhood,” International Journal of Early Childhood Environmental Education 7 (3). 

Circular indoor space with circular skylight