How do you design a 380K SF school on a 6-acre site, allowing 30% for green space?
Architecture is a craft that can create a communal identity and enhance the lives of those experiencing it. Beijing Haidian District’s Education Commission sought to transform their country’s delivery of education by designing a replacement school that would enhance 21st century learning skills for their youth. Chinese culture speaks about one’s learning experience through life as a journey. A Chinese proverb states, “Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.” The design concept for the building is JOURNEY, and the journey youth take to attain wisdom and knowledge.
Sited on a busy urban corner west of Beijing’s Forbidden City, the new school rises five stories above the city floor as an icon of the future of Chinese education. The façade design demonstrates youthful energy through colorful terracotta striations, symbolizing today’s youth skills that require global awareness, inventive thinking, collaboration with peers, planning and managing of their work and social life.
The building incorporates classrooms with moveable walls and other flexible spaces that allow for impromptu study groups, student collaboration and adjustable class size. Informal learning spaces are created outside of the classrooms to encourage engagement amongst students and teachers. Flexible furniture is used to create spaces with ease and encourage learning anywhere, anytime.
The environment serves as a living textbook for students along their journey. Building systems are on display to allow students to learn sustainable aspects. The building itself reflects aspects of Chinese culture and nature.
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