An influential book of preschool prototypes for Singapore.


A Different Class: Preschool Spaces Redefined


Lien Foundation


Ong Ker-Shing, Joshua Comaroff, Chen Shunann


On the heels of Caterpillar's Cove, we continued our research into the possibilities of the purpose-built preschool—again with Lien Foundation as client. CEO Lee Poh Wah challenged us to produce a book with 10 architectural examples, each in a typical under-utilized space in Singapore. These would be illustrated with schematic plans, sections, and renderings to evoke the potentials of new schools on sites such as highway buffers, college campuses, carpark roofs, drainage canals, and the like.

Following a famous Reggio Emilia mantra, we imagined these sites as teachers in themselves. A school in a canal became one where water and its role in urban life becomes a vehicle to engage science, ecology, art, and literature. Another, on a farm, looks at organic growth as a central metaphor—at the same time, schools rooted in housing estates were designed to work as a change agent in their communities.

The book gained wide media coverage, and was distributed freely to an audience of people involved in early education. Several of the proposals, such as those at the car park roof and in National Parks' public spaces, have subsequently been built. The project was a finalist for the Webby Award in 2015.