Xiashan Primary School / STI Studio from the Architectural Design & Research Institute of Zhejiang University


© Chunliu Yu

© Chunliu Yu

© Chunliu Yu

© Chunliu Yu

Reconstruction of the spiritual home: the design of a resettlement primary school

Xiashan Primary School is located in Lingfeng area, Anji County, Zhejiang Province. The total land area of the school is about 20,000㎡. The construction area of the school is about 10,000㎡. The school consists of 18 classes with corresponding supporting functions, which is to replace the existing temporary school buildings and to accept the children whose parents are the residents in resettlement residential area. Because of its near the main road with heavy traffic and be surrounded by extensive resettlement residential area, the environment around the school is relatively messy. Besides, narrow construction land results in very limited space for the main building, especially after arranging the required outdoor space. So how to design a school with function and space conforming to children’s characteristics in this narrow space may be a core issues that an architect should consider.


© Chunliu Yu

© Chunliu Yu

Lost school and home

Except home, school may be the most reliable place for a child both in mind and life. For children whose parents are demolition resettlement residents, it could be a pretty harmful thing on them to leave their original homeland and move them to a new strange community. These children have to study temporarily in a transitional school with poor conditions, even lack of supporting venues and other facilities. So their expectation for a good school can be the greatest motivation for designers in their creative design process.


© Chunliu Yu

© Chunliu Yu

The construction from “Garden” to “Yard”

At the beginning of the design phases, we regarded the design as a precious opportunity. Which will provide the children who should have spent their childhood in a happy time a beautiful spiritual “home”. In our design goal, we hoped to create a space that is isolated from the outside world, only for the spiritual ascription of children. The design began with the idea build to a spiritual “home” for children. We used the methods called “enclosure” and “reorganization” to organize the teaching space and auxiliary space, then the combination of yard and space began to take shape. Enclosed inner yard is not only a rich experience of space or visual experience, but also a heart and physical privacy world, a spiritual “home”, belong to children. From this our design completed from “garden” to “yard”.


Courtesy of Department Of Architecture, Zhejiang University

Courtesy of Department Of Architecture, Zhejiang University

Environmental integration

The construction land is surrounded by mountains. How to introduce natural scenery into architecture. Through the surrounding environment analysis and urban design research, the designers had drew lessons from the traditional Chinese garden design techniques. They opened frame and visual corridor in some places of the enclosed yard space, which made the closed patio space do echo with mountains and contact each other. Here, the communication of the natural sight and the extension of the mountain landscape become the theme of design.


Diagram

Diagram

Cultural inheritance

In the process of shaping a relatively simple inner yard facade system, the designers drew on the concept of Jiangnan landscape and the image of Taihu stone. By creating irregular opening windows and interesting facade, they made landscape level of the inner courtyard more abundant, which can better stimulate children’s instincts of exploration and seeking knowledge. In this yard, the designers created the Spiritual “home” which incorporates children’s naivety and abstract Chinese garden imagery.


© Chunliu Yu

© Chunliu Yu

An attempt at material and color

In the selection of material and color, considering the period, cost, use, safety and so on, we chose imitation fair-faced concrete paint as the main facade material. The main color ,cinerous ,blended with the color of the mountains naturally. Considering the characteristics of primary school buildings, we added a bright color modulation system into the main facade material and make children feel more intimate. These two sets of color system are complements, forming a unique visual color feel.


© Chunliu Yu

© Chunliu Yu

Phased construction planning

As a result of the construction on former land, the area was implemented in two phases. The original temporary teaching building was demolished after the completion of the teaching building in April 2016, in order to build the restaurant , the sports building and supporting facilities of playground on former land. All the school construction is expected to be completed in next  March.


© Chunliu Yu

© Chunliu Yu

In this building, designers focused on the venue, space, material, color, etc. They grasped the children’s scale and psychological, then use the language of architecture to express human nature ponder. Through the pursuit of the spiritual home and yard, the designers deliver a way to design solutions and useful try on the basis of the social reality and understanding of children outside the building itself.

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