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Family Box – Qingdao

Making a smart difference, efficient spaces and volumes

Smart volumes and smart spaces are filled with a variety of elements to engage children to play and learn. Scaled for children to climb, crawl and walk, allowing independent exploration or together with an adult.

Early childhood education in China is rapidly developing. Situated in a shopping mall, Family Box welcomes the public with a library, shop and try-out classes for potential customers before directing its members to the children’s swimming pool, classrooms, open play areas and cafe.

Yellow, blue and green represent the city of Qingdao. Each color is indicating a special design feature. Recognizable for children, active floors are in yellow, multi-functional smart spaces in blue and walls are transformed into green smart volumes. This allows for maximization of the amount of program in the available space.

Breaking from traditional educational layouts, the smart volumes are filled with a variety of elements to engage children with playing and learning. Containing slides, climbing zones, soft-upholstered seating and other elements.

While closed, rooms and play areas function independently. For group activities they then can open up with movable walls. The setup is integrating with the library for large group storytelling, or converting into a stage where an audience can watch a small performance from the stepped seats.


Project: Family Box – Qingdao
Client: Children Enterprise (UK) Ltd.
Program: Educational
Location: Shandong Road, Shinan District, Qingdao, China
Building area: 4,400 m2
Completion Date: Jul, 2015


Partners: Binke Lenhardt, DONG Hao
Design Team: Tracey Loontjens, GAO Yang, Cynthia Cui, Crossboundaries, Beijing
Photographer: Xia Zhi


2018 2A Asia Architecture Award, Interior Architecture Asia, Third Place, Qingdao Family Box