Cognita – Early Learning Village

  • area / size 581,251 sqft
  • Completed 2018
  • Location Singapore,
  • Bogle Architects completed the design for Cognita’s Early Learning Village, a school offering state of the art facilities for preschool education located in Singapore.

    A world first in preschool facilities, the ELV delivers a multi- cultural, flexible environment with capacity for 2,100 children from nursery to kindergarten age, as well as 400 support staff.

    The Early Learning Village represents an extraordinary milestone in the delivery of international preschool education. This remarkable, ground-breaking school was designed by leading architectural studio Bogle Architects for the global schools operator Cognita. The Early Learning Village accommodates two of Cognita’s schools in Singapore: The Stamford American International School and The Australian International School.

    The design is radically innovative and despite the impressive scale of this institution, the 54,000 sqm building, while rigorously logical, is filled with visual delights creating a configuration to which both children and staff can relate. The school is specifically designed to enhance children’s learning experience by offering a spectrum of lively learning environments filled with colour and sunlight. While the teachers enjoy an adult’s perspective of the spaces, Bogle Architects have created a dual environment by including child-sized doors, work-benches with steps for children of different heights, and signage at children’s eye-level and on the floors.

    Cognita’s brief stipulated that this ambitious project should be a model for future schools of this nature, providing facilities rarely seen in pre-school buildings: external discovery play zones, a swimming pool, a flexible multi-purpose hall, and specialist subject classes for art, music and dance. The key challenges were to ensure that the significant volume was not intimidating for small children, to clarify circulation given the scale of the school and to design a building that was essentially playful and fun as well as flexible enough to accommodate changing market conditions.

    The architects explored the relationships between children of different ages, and the building’s organisation clearly reflects the varied requirements of an 18 month old baby and a 6 year old
    child, with the most expansive green spaces at lower levels to be occupied by enthusiastic 4 and 5 year olds and adjacent to spacious parent cafés.

    The Reggio Emilia philosophy places great emphasis on children’s physical environment. Bogle Architects set out to create an environment that was open and engaging while full of natural light and external awareness. The varied spaces range from intimate areas of sensory learning to more expansive areas of external play for social interaction, recognising that a range of spatial experiences is critical in children’s development. Low level ‘child height’ window seats for children allow them to explore their surroundings or read a book for cerebral development, while external physical activities in the swimming pool, multifunction hall or external play spaces provide for physical development.

    There was no rule book for designing a project of this typology and scale, so Bogle Architects went back to first principles, taking the analogy of the ‘nursery at the end of the street’ as the initial building block – typically four classrooms organised around a central space with external play space of circa 100 children. Through a process of analysis and modeling, the stacked arrangement of these ‘building blocks or clusters’ with their projecting canopies has created a playful environment that also provides necessary weather protection. The other driver informing the design is the abundant use of green space and greenery. The Design has been informed by two eminent Early Years specialists – Rosie Long from the UK and Gary Moore, an architect and Professor of Environment & Behaviour studies at Sydney University, whose combined expertise focuses on the well-being of children in a learning environment.

    Design ArchitectBogle Architects
    Local Architect: Architects 61 Pte Ltd
    Contractor: Lendlease
    Photography: Infinitude