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Minax Architects：There is an impassable boundary between physical buildings and free space in a high-density city. Under the principle of efficiency first, the using function often takes precedence over spatial interest and the two seem not to achieve symbiosis. The same goes for school buildings, where economic use of land is strictly regulated, resulting in the similarity of buildings. After the fundamental teaching units and auxiliary functions are laid out, space for free activities can no longer form a complete and continuous expression. The site is divided by buildings, in which the scale of the public space is in sharp contrast to the concentrated playing field. Buildings have little uniqueness and a clear narrative; thus, it’s easy to fall into a set of paradigms. On this basis, the school urgently needs new strategies to form new expressions and visions.
The site is located in a new development area in the city, surrounded by high-density housing and large-scale urban infrastructures. Instead of using the traditional layout of the campus, buildings with different functions were viewed as a whole element. The periphery of the site was enclosed, and the middle was in openness. By spreading the buildings along with the site and roads and shaping them with continuous broken lines, relative independent courtyards were enclosed.
▼校园整体鸟瞰 A bird’s eye view of the campus
This corresponded to the city scale with whole mass, and divided the site into open sports areas and enclosed courtyards. Multiple school functions were integrated into a continuous linear volume, and continuous visual spaces horizontally extended were formed on both the inside and outside sides, enabling the school with a distinctive identification and generative logic. The main entrance was in the south of the site, and the traffic distribution area was divided through the incline of the main body. All the masses were placed on the site according to the interrelation of their functions, generating basic logic and composition, and the space carries on a new kind of bonding and shaping by the way of dimensional transformation.
▼中庭连廊空间鸟瞰 A bird’s eye view of the atrium corridor space
水平维度—开放与围合｜Horizontal Dimension – Openness and Enclosure
The continuous building is horizontally divided into the first floor, the middle part, and the roof. In terms of functional organization, public teaching and auxiliary components are deliberately set on the first floor, the standard teaching units are set in the middle, and the roof connects the whole continuous elements in the school. The first floor of the building is an open space for a public function, which has different characteristics from the standard teaching units in the middle.
▼穿过建筑体的主入口-1 Through the main entrance of the building-1
In the naturally enclosed buildings, the multi-type and function places are created on the first floor, establishing different interfaces to let the architectural forms also interestingly change. This horizontal division is an embodiment of the combination and utilization of buildings. The movement and turning of the shapes form multiple types of public communication and activity spaces between different areas of the school. The cloisters of the courtyard, the overhead stands and the lifted entrance seek to further break through the traditional decentralized building. Secondly, the roof, which was initially overlooked and separated, became the most iconic element of the school, creating a unique image of the school while accommodating more teaching activities. Teaching and educating autonomously happen in this change and communication. Openness and publicity naturally spread in the enclosed building, or smoothly unfold, or turn deep. Due to the intervention of public activities, the buildings correspondingly change, born naturally and moves with the shape.
▼穿过建筑体的主入口-2&面对城市的建筑立面 Pass through the main entrance of the building-2 & the facade of the building facing the city
▼建筑体半围合的操场 Playground with half-enclosed building
▼与看台叠合的图书馆 The library overlapped with the stands
竖向维度—穿插与渗透｜Vertical Dimension – Interlude and Penetration
Between the courtyards enclosed by the continuous buildings, a set of circular corridors are set to vertically extend the space for public activities originally concentrated on the first floor. The overlapping circular corridors bring dramatic changes to the buildings and courtyards. The original separation becomes a strong interpenetration due to the corridors. The courtyards are built with an alternation of scale and dimension rather than a traditional layout, creating a strong sense of enjoyment.
▼庭院的入口 Entrance to the courtyard
▼建筑体与游廊间的公共空间 The public space between the building and the veranda
The verandah in the courtyard is not only for the link of circulation, but also an important outdoor activity place for students, becoming a vivid element in the rigorous order. In addition to the convenient and complete connection, the corridor naturally creates more layers in the courtyard. The ring corridor and courtyard form a relative movement and absolute change. The observation and communication from different dimensions vertically form a three-dimensional layer, getting rid of people’s perception of a single external dimension. All students’ behavior could be better merge with the environment and buildings, boundaries are broken, and imagination is released.
▼游廊划分的院落 Courtyard divided by veranda
▼廊间光影 Light and shadow
▼游廊立面 Veranda facade
时间维度—行进与停留｜Time Dimension – Travel and Stay
After entering the school, we walk along the buildings, accompanied by the change of time dimension. Whether it is the accompanying green trees, the sunshine from the grille, or the fluctuating roof, a compacted and zoomed rational space is formed and time is paused and resumed. The continuous streamline is integrated into adjusting the walking speed at different turning points, using variations to substitute traditional plain layout. The turning and alternation of the buildings, combined with the overlapping curves, become each time spots of the walking. These time spots connect the different spaces, making people encounter and disperse in the space. The multi-dimensional space creates more contingencies, which are essential memories of people. The learning process is the accumulation of memory, based on which the grasp of the unknown experience is achieved. This ever-changing integration of architecture, space and light will provide students with a world of abundant perception and an interest in exploring and discovering the unknown.
▼廊上风景 The scenery on the porch
▼以冷暖的色彩搭配 Match with warm and cold colors
▼孩童在充满温暖的橙色游廊中奔跑活动 Children running in the warm orange veranda
▼映入廊道的城市风景 The city landscape reflected in the corridor
▼夜色校园 Night campus
Fengxi primary school is a breakthrough of tradition. Through the dramatic space construction, the change of different dimensions is achieved. The possibilities and interestingness of space are used to trigger daily contingencies, in which experience and perception are accumulated to learn and grow.
▼建筑生成示意 Building generation schematic
▼功能分析图示 Function analysis diagram
▼功能分布轴测 Function distribution axonometric
▼轴测分解图-1 Axonometric exploded drawing-1
▼轴测分解图-2 Axonometric exploded drawing-2
▼一层平面图 Ground floor plan
▼二层平面图 Floor plan
▼三层平面图 Three-story floor plan
▼四层平面图 Four-story floor plan
Architects: MINAX Architects
Area: 23791 m²
Photographs: Qingshan Wu
Lead Architect: Zhigang Lu
Design Team: Congyi Huang, Dingpeng Liang, Li Liu, Zhirui Liu, Like Niu
Construction documents design: Zhejiang Tianhe Design & Construction Co.,LTD
Construction documents design team: Yuefang Yang,Qi Yao,Liangfu He,Feng Cui,Cheng Ge, Peibiao Jin,Yanqi Shen
Client: Huzhou Jingkai Investment Development Group Co.LTD
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