Architectural Brief Excerpts

Among the most important guiding principles for this design is our belief that all spaces should be considered learning spaces. At YIS we believe that learning changes our thinking and behaviors, enabling us to acquire skills, knowledge and attitudes while providing a catalyst for creativity, critical thinking and independent reasoning. Learning in our school takes place continuously and in a variety of settings, not only in classrooms, and we need to ensure the environment we create supports this understanding. Of course the classrooms are still an important factor in supporting the learning and we need to design them with the “YIS way of learning” in mind.

The design for our new facility will need to offer learning and social spaces that suit the different age groups of the school and allow the Early Learning Center (ELC), elementary, middle and high schools to each have an identity and space that suits their individual programs. At the same time, there must be complementarity among these different sections, and it must be a campus that brings everyone together so there is still a strong feeling of “one school.” Shared spaces of interaction are essential, as there is a special community feeling when the wide range of ages get to interact and when parents and alumni can also interact and feel a connection to the physical space.

Although the contemporary local environment will have an influence on design and feel, we would like to incorporate styling cues that reflect Japanese architecture and aesthetics - either modern or traditional - to pay homage to our host country and the culture that we live within. We are especially interested in those aspects of Japanese art and design that reflect harmony between man-made environments and the natural world, as well as materials that are both aesthetically pleasing and ecologically sound.

When you walk into the school at present, you instantly feel you are part of the YIS community and this is something that people comment on regularly and that we wish to retain. It is important to be able to see the learning going on and have a sense of openness that allows people to feel they can share that experience. We feel this could be enhanced much further with a new campus design. We envision having fewer corridors and instead having classrooms open out onto shared spaces where the learning can spill out of the classroom and be openly shared. It needs to feel comfortable, warm and supportive and not cold, industrial and impersonal.

Additional goals to include:

  • State-of-art campus to start YIS’ second century

  • Self-contained campus for improved safety and security

  • Purpose-built facilities for our academic, athletic, arts and other programs

  • Convenient access for key constituencies in Yokohama and Tokyo

  • Economically and environmentally sustainable campus

  • Showcase for international education in Yokohama, enhancing appeal for foreign business and investment.

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