schmidt hammer lassen architects, in collaboration with Thomas Chow Architects, has won a commission to design a new Island School in Hong Kong. Envisioned as a “sustainable learning landscape,” the 28,000-square-meter, state-of-the-art facility aims to promote optimal learning through flexible classroom spaces and by establishing a deep connection with the surrounding landscape and local community.
Located on a hillside site, with uninterrupted views of the lush mountain landscape and Hong Kong skyline and waterfront, the Island School capitalizes on its context. The design is formed by an atrium, which doubles as the school’s learning plaza, that runs through the complex and frames views throughout.
“The atrium is the heart of the school,” states Bjarne Hammer, founding partner at schmidt hammer lassen architects. “With its balconies, hanging greenery and gardens, it functions as an informal social gathering space where the students can meet and interact. The greenery creates a relaxing atmosphere and contributes positively to the learning environment.”
In addition to serving as a social space, the atrium enhances the quality of the learning environment by providing natural light throughout the structure. Manipulations in the building’s cantilevering facade provides learning spaces with daylight and shade as needed. Gardens and greenery help cool the facility, further reducing the building’s energy load.
The Island School will replace an aging, 1967 facility and serve approximately 1,200 students, ranging from 11 to 18 years of age.