Located in Huilongguan town, Changping district, outside Beijing's north fifth ring road, Beijing No.161 High school Huilongguan school was put into use in October 23, 2015, after five years design and construction.
As an important people-benefiting project, the construction of the school not only contributes to the progress of the relocation of the growing population in the old city to the new town, but also promotes healthier suburban development.
Aiming to bridge the educational gap between inner city and suburban area, the school is considered to provide high quality education to the residents. Therefore, the design concept should fit with current educational trend, that is , be more open and self-sustainable.
Situated in high density residential zone and surrounded by high-rise buildings, the campus seems to become an 'isolated island'. Therefore, the school should have enough inner strength to cope with the pressure created by the high density environment and appropriate openness to break through the limitation of mono-functional suburban living quarters.
The site limits the basic organization of spaces——400m playground on the west with teaching buildings on the east.
The space prototype is driven from traditional enclosed courtyard, in winch, we can find strong sense of introversion when it comes to the relationship with outside city, and at the same time, active interaction inside the space. Similarly, in this project, two teaching buildings form a courtyard space.
The courtyard space is combined with various substantial functions, such as open-air theatre, green gardens, open platforms and shared corridors. These elements are working together to make a lively core area in the campus. they not only enrich the space level, but also encourage multi-sensory interactions among different activities, between people and environment.
The basic principles of function organization is to arrange the more public function closer to the courtyard. Gymnasium, auditorium, library, canteen and shared classrooms are arranged to the lower parts, becoming parts of the open space system, in which various activities take place and promote each other.
In the other hand, the rigid programs such as classrooms, labs and administrations are set in the upper parts, relatively quiet while visually connecting to the courtyard.
Interaction between campus and city
Instead of completely cutting off from the high-rise surroundings, we chose a positive way to face the pressure, that is to make the campus communicate with the multifarious surroundings, to an appropriate extent.
We create two spatial systems to link the campus and the city. The systems provide several visual or spatial connections between the school and the urban environment, though which they can feel each other while maintain their respective properties.
In accordance with the government's requirement, we avoid to use materials that are expressive but easily falling off, such as brick and stone veneer. As a result, we chose to use more simple, natural and durable materials, such as painting and wood.
We use unadorned red-brown painting to respond to the context of the high density zone, and bright-white painting to identify the public properties of lower parts.
Inside the campus, vivid colorful elements are used as a guide to different functional units. They symbolize the characteristics and importance of each space, and bring the school some vigor of youth.
It is necessary to make a good use of underground space to cope with the limitation of the site. And it is a challenge to provide enough light to the underground functions. As a solution, natural light is brought into the underground through the sinking courtyard, the shared open spaces and the specially designed windows. Light is one of the important elements in this design, and it is a bridge to link the underground and the open space up the ground.