tezuka architects: ring around a tree
tezuka architects: ring around a tree tezuka architects: ring around a tree
jul 11, 2011

tezuka architects: ring around a tree

‘ring around a tree’ by tezuka architects, tachikawa, tokyo, japan image © katsuhisa kida /FOTOTECA



japanese practice tezuka architects has completed ‘ring around a tree’, a dual-purpose annex building at fuji kindergarden – designed by the duo in 2007 – in tachikawa, tokyo, japan. sited adjacent to the existing school, the structure functions as both english-language classrooms and as a waiting station for school buses.

half of the structure is enclosed while the other half is exposed to the external environment image © katsuhisa kida /FOTOTECA



permeated by wandering branches and overgrown foliage, the structure looks to destroy the boundaries between internal and external, and built and natural environments. seven staggered floor plates modestly surround the mature and twisting tree, its columns and stairways dissolved into the shadows of the leaves and hardwood.  the structure surrounds a zelkova tree that was partially uprooted during a typhoon and miraculously recovered image © tezuka architects



the continuous centripetal form reflects that of the main building, its partially exposed volume sheltered by the trees large canopy. contained within a five meter height, the open, treehouse-like structure features a series of compressed and enclosed spaces accessible only to crouching, crawling children. void of many barriers, the offset platforms are covered in soft rubber mats that help cushion the small, tender bodies and inevitable accidents.

looking from the ground floor up image © katsuhisa kida /FOTOTECA



the glass enclosed unit hosts two classrooms that are clear of traditional desks and chairs. each consuming one floor, the learning environments aim to project a fruitful and liberating atmosphere that is free of constrictive elements.

the structure was built around the tree, preserving every branch and limb image © tezuka architects

thin railings disappear into the shadows of the tree image © tezuka architects

small compartments – ranging in height from 600mm to 1200mm – are intended for children only image © tezuka architects

rubber mats cushion the crawling children and inevitable falls image © katsuhisa kida /FOTOTECA

ropes are strung above certain branches so that the children do not climb on them image © tezuka architects

lookout on the top level image © tezuka architects

view towards classrooms image © katsuhisa kida /FOTOTECA

two classrooms are housed within the glazed structure image © katsuhisa kida /FOTOTECA

in context – school to the left, parking lot and main road ahead image © katsuhisa kida /FOTOTECA

floor plan/ level 0 image courtesy tezuka architects

floor plan/ level 1 image courtesy tezuka architects

floor plan/ level 2 image courtesy tezuka architects

floor plan/ level 3 image courtesy tezuka architects

floor plan/ level 4 image courtesy tezuka architects

floor plan/ level 5 image courtesy tezuka architects

section image courtesy tezuka architects



project info:


construction: nichinan-tekkou area: 146.98 square meters


  • Amazing!

    Tim says:
  • There’s something beautiful and totally absurd in constructions like this.
    Anyway, it’s practicall way to keep the children gathered in the cage.

    suspicious says:
  • like like .. love to live in there

    Sandeep Sangaru says:
  • coolest learning environment ever!

    dbkii says:
  • Beautiful. Nice project.

    Gaston says:
  • Lovely

    BS says:
  • The mother tree! Lavoro meraviviglioso!

    oda gualtieri says:
  • Why not?

    deloprojet says:
  • i thought tree houses were abot climbing, touching trees

    marktar says:
  • i would like to have one in my community park 😛

    chamnann says:
  • Beautifully integrated as both a play space and classroom. Elegantly abstracted forms provide a rhythmic counterpoint to the tree.My only complaint would be a desire to see more earth surrounding the tree.

    Doug C. says:
  • Really really delightful and rewarding in many ways, needs to become a template for the general (young) population in many cities beyond these lucky few kids. I’m sure they never tire of the stimulation.

    Simonalexander says:

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