In May 2015, Shenzhen Art Museum and Shenzhen Library organized an international design competition for their new homes in Longhua District. 134 firms submitted concept proposals for the first stage, eight firms were selected to enter the second phase competition in July, among them OMA, Steven Holl, Mecanoo, OPEN, KSP, and others. Below is OPEN’s competition entry for the second phase.
"A counteraction to what is happening today in China," OPEN Architecture's Garden School in Beijing seeks to reconnect its students with nature. Located in a new town that, as founding partner Li Hu says, was built "too fast," the school serves as one of the few spaces students can interact with nature. The school is designed like a garden, from its sloping "floor zero" to rooftop gardens, offering unconventional spaces for teaching and inviting public areas that encourage social interaction.
“What is problematic is that these new towns are designed too fast, without much thinking about how the spaces are going to be used, and what kind of space they are going to create. I think it is a problem for human psychology. Living in a new town with not enough good green space, good social space, we’ll become very problematic urban animals,” Hu told Spirit of Space.
Read on for a conversation with the architects.
OPEN Architecture recently created a new kind of school system that provides a balanced and joyful learning environment integrated with farms and gardens. Drawing inspiration from the ancient Chinese philosophy which had always centered on the harmony between people and nature, the architects feel it is urgent to bring the ancient philosophy back to the core of our education, and put it in the context of new challenges ahead. If there is one thing that we have to put above all other issues for the 21st century, it is probably the vulnerability of nature, especially in the decades to come, and amidst all the looming environmental crisis. More images and architects’ description after the break.