OPEN Architecture has designed a 58,000 square meter campus for the Qingpu Pinghe School in Shanghai. Currently under construction, the educational project's thirteen buildings have largely topped out. The second primary and secondary school project to be completed by OPEN after the acclaimed Beijing No.4 High School Fangshan Campus, the School as a Village concept was made as a creative exploration of contemporary urban design. The project was designed as a model for new educational buildings and campuses in Shanghai and beyond.
The design of the campus was made as an organic constellation of unique smaller buildings linked by landscape elements. The organizational strategy was a direct response to the widespread prevalence of over-scaled, generic school complexes in China. Accommodating a student body ranging in age across twelve grade levels, many students will spend many years on this same campus. The characters and scale of the buildings combine with the surrounding landscape to provide a changing physical environment and varied spatial experience for the school's students.
Among the school’s more unique features are a helical student dormitory, a multifaceted arts center, classroom “blocks”, a freeform kindergarten building, and a “bibliotheater”—a space that combines the school’s library and theater. These facilities and other large public programs such as the school’s swimming pool and gym, are designed to be accessible to the public when school is not in session. Although each individual building on campus has its own unique identity and program, together they form a village-like community of teaching and learning.
The Qingpu Pinghe School is scheduled to open in the fall of 2019.