Renovation of the Primary School Affiliated to Longjiang Foreign Language School / Atelier cnS
Overview – The Primary School Affiliated to Longjiang Foreign Language School (Wanggang School) is located in Longjiang, Shunde. The school is surrounded by a range of dense villages that are typical and symbolic in the Pearl River Delta. It is adjacent to Sanlian Industrial Park, which is the largest furniture industrial area in Longjiang. There is a strict limitation of land for school expansion and the contradiction between supply and demand on the campus space is very prominent. In order to meet the growing demands of high-quality education, the renovation manages to fully expand the existing land for the campus and improves the space utilization rate as much as possible, so as to ensure sufficient spaces for outdoor activities and to increase the number of the classroom from 22 classes to 42 classes.
A Multi-dimensional Campus – Due to the limited land resources for horizontal expansion, designers decided to expand the campus in the vertical direction, which can perfectly satisfy the density index in the Longjiang Control Regulations. By raising the sports field to 4.65m, more flexible spaces are created underneath to provide different functional rooms and spaces for big events. The 300-meter running track on the first floor and the sports field on the second floor, then become spaces that are different but supplement each other. Moreover, the accessibility to the sports field on the second floor is connected by continuous corridors to improve circulation. It not only solves the problem of accessibility between the sports fields but also offers diversity and convenience in limited spaces.
‘Flow Space’ and ‘Floating Island’ – The project is located in Shunde, ‘Town of Water’, where the river network is densely surrounded. Inspired by the river network, designers applied the extending and continuous structure to the spaces underneath the sports field, so as to solve the ventilation and lighting problems. The interior spaces are organized and grouped as a series of floating islands, along a corridor that leads all the way to the waterfront. As the main stream, the corridor connects both the ‘Study Island’ and the ‘Activity Island’, and creates a continuous outdoor space like the flowing water.
Moreover, interior spaces are arranged at a specific angle to maximize the exhibition area facing outward, and to create a variety of micro-spaces for students to entertain, such as display walls, painting walls, small podiums, and book corners. The idea of the flow space and the floating island enrich the diversity of spaces underneath the sports field and significantly improve the lighting and ventilation conditions.
Library: ‘A Floating Island of Knowledge’ – The library is built on the underused land on the campus and is supported by tube structures. The first floor is elevated to avoid disturbance to the 300-meter running track. The tube structures in red not only play the role of structural elements but also acts as a circulation space throughout the whole building. Furthermore, the top end of the tube naturally forms a skylight, bringing daylight and ventilation to the interior. With the help of tube structures, the library could be free from a physical performance by being a pure container for reading. By arranging the interior spaces along the framed views, a variety of indoor and semi-indoor spaces are created in a free form, so-called ‘A Floating Island of Knowledge’.
Curtain Wall: ‘Voile and Flowers’ – In the facade design, designers tried to create a translucent skin as light as voile, so as to give people a sense of lightness. Through a series of material comparisons and selection, steel cable and aluminum mesh are selected for their good performance on tensile strength and ductility. It not only shows a sense of lightness through appearance but also ensures structural stability against the wind. As for the material selection for the atrium in the sports field, the diamond weave pattern of the chain link fence is used to provide powerful and flexible features, so as to fit the shape of the structure, showing as a blooming flower on the sports field.
Disappearing Wall: Interface by the Riverside – Another major feature of Wanggang campus is that one side of the campus is adjacent to the riverside. In recent years, Shunde has made great efforts to improve the water quality of the river, and the views of the river are pleasing. Nonetheless, before the renovation, the physical fence around the campus kept the beautiful views away from students. Accordingly, in order to improve the interface by the riverside and to prevent unpredictable changes of tidal streams from the campus, designers create a completely open platform that is close to the water. It not only introduces the sights of the river into the campus but also acts as an invisible and protective wall on the waterfront. This ‘disappearing wall’ then becomes one of the most symbolic characteristics on the campus and also seems to be a platform and medium for showing verve and vitality.