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  7. Hangzhou Choven Century City Experimental School / MONOARCHI

Hangzhou Choven Century City Experimental School / MONOARCHI

  • 20:00 - 3 July, 2019
  • Curated by 韩爽 - HAN Shuang
Hangzhou Choven Century City Experimental School / MONOARCHI
Hangzhou Choven Century City Experimental School / MONOARCHI, © Zhi Xia
© Zhi Xia

stairs up to the second floor. Image © Zhi Xia south entrance double entries. Image © Zhi Xia classroom and bay space. Image © Zhi Xia south entrance hall. Image © Zhi Xia + 61

  • Architects

  • Location

    No.78, Yingfeng Rd, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China
  • Category

  • Design Principal

    Xiaochao Song, Keming Wang
  • Design Team

    Tianyu Xiong, Pengfei Gao, Yan Mo, Fuming Tang, Hao Zhang, Yiliang Shao
  • Area

    64000.0 m2
  • Project Year

    2018
  • Photographs

south entrance hall. Image © Zhi Xia
south entrance hall. Image © Zhi Xia

Text description provided by the architects. In Ming Dynasty in Hangzhou, China, a new way of teaching was invented to make education more free, open and closer to the nature, where teachers giving classes to students in a boat floating through the lotus and trees in the water. Today, Hangzhou Chovan Experimental School, inherited this local tradition from hundreds of years ago, aspired to create a new space to carry forward this spirit of education.

surrounded by green trees. Image © Zhi Xia
surrounded by green trees. Image © Zhi Xia

To respect nature is to respect freedom and openness. We started with the nature of children’s cognition and the nature of education when designing the campus of Hangzhou Chovan School.

rectangular windows. Image © Zhi Xia
rectangular windows. Image © Zhi Xia

In traditional education system, the result of test has been recognized as the only criterion of evaluating the performance of a student, which brings “teaching” that goes from the teacher to the student much higher than “educating” that emphasizes on gradual cultivation; and the educational activities are getting simplified. Thus the diversity of children’s cultural education is gradually erased. The great freedom in children’s cognition determined the multi-dimensional development of education, and a place with multi-layered complexity would better help the intellectual development of children.

axonometric diagram
axonometric diagram

When children come to the school, they are somehow enclosed in a small society where not only time but also space are provided for them to learn and develop. While studying together, children can learn from each other through shared projects and similar activities, either by comparison within a short distance or by observation from a long distance. Our goal is to make such learning easier in the campus. Therefore, we abandoned the intensified linear space in traditional school, instead, we established a more complicated space with rich layers and structure. By weaving the space in a three-three-dimensional manner, we created a lot more spots for physical and visual contact, which brings a lot more opportunities for the children to see and to learn.

teaching building facing the playground. Image © Zhi Xia
teaching building facing the playground. Image © Zhi Xia
south facade. Image © Zhi Xia
south facade. Image © Zhi Xia

We designed an orange-red “mountain” in the atrium on the central axis of the campus. It is a group of folding and turning staircases that go from the ground to the ceiling. The transparent ceiling with glass windows brings in the natural light, which adds brightness and warmth to the “mountain”. The “mountain” has difference entrances which lead to platforms of different functions (for example, performance stage, gallery, reading space, among many others). The stairs are suspended in the atrium and are divided into groups of different heights and angles. When a student is walking along the stairs, he or she will be able to capture the various activities taking place in this three-dimensional space.

stairs as activity space. Image © Zhi Xia
stairs as activity space. Image © Zhi Xia
stairs on the axis. Image © Zhi Xia
stairs on the axis. Image © Zhi Xia

On the other hand, orthodoxy education system focuses on the indoctrination of knowledge while somewhat ignores the training of independent thinking. The world is not onlyof great width but also profundity. In addition to the taking of comprehensive knowledge, the students should also be cultivated to think independently to explore through the depth of the world. Independent thinking requires physical solitude. Therefore, the students also need quietness to think and reflect in this communal area in addition to communicate and play, a space that allows the switch between the public and the private.

axis space as sharing space for students. Image © Zhi Xia
axis space as sharing space for students. Image © Zhi Xia
interlaced layers. Image © Xiaodan Song
interlaced layers. Image © Xiaodan Song

First, we defined the campus as a courtyard with many smaller courtyards of different functions. There are three courtyards in the primary department, one courtyard in the kindergarten and one between the mixed-use and the playground. Different from the liner layout in traditional planning, the courtyard plan offers a sense of centricity to the space, which brings calmness and concentration to our mind; Except the courtyard of the kindergarten, other courtyards were all sunken to the underground to acquire more quietness to the space. Second, the floor plans of the three libraries in the first floor were defined as  a triangle, a circle and a square, all of which were “floating” over the sunken courtyards, enjoying the most tranquil atmosphere for reading and reflection; Third, we left a few “useless” spaces in each floor which can be flexibly occupied for different purposes. There are also “ports” between classrooms that are connected by the corridor. The area of those “ports” are similar to the total area of the classrooms, which almost doubled the space for learning and activities, it is also much easier for each student to find a place for himself or herself here. Some of these “ports” can be occupied as small theaters, libraries, galleries and small studios. They become energetic when there are group activities, and calm down as a quiet harbor when there is only one student enjoying his or her solitude alone.

school 1F plan
school 1F plan
circle library and theatre day view. Image © Zhi Xia
circle library and theatre day view. Image © Zhi Xia
triangular library and sinking courtyard. Image © Zhi Xia
triangular library and sinking courtyard. Image © Zhi Xia
square library courtyard. Image © Zhi Xia
square library courtyard. Image © Zhi Xia

Regarding the landscape design of the campus, we put a cross-country runway after retaining as much green land as possible. Various geological environments were simulated and set on the path, for example, desert, wetland, grassland, primeval forest, among many others. We further combined the cross-country runway and the space inside the buildings to create a path that horizontally go through the entire campus while changes dramatically in vertical direction, which posed bigger challenge to both physical and intellectual status of the students.

stairs up to the second floor. Image © Zhi Xia
stairs up to the second floor. Image © Zhi Xia

Finally, we upgraded the landscape design and turned the rooftop of the multifunctional building into a small farmland, planted with seasonal rice, fruits and vegetables, then students can not only appreciate the greenery, but also engage themselves to some of the farm work to possibly know deeper the value of learning.

south entrance double entries. Image © Zhi Xia
south entrance double entries. Image © Zhi Xia

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Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: "Hangzhou Choven Century City Experimental School / MONOARCHI" 03 Jul 2019. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/919816/hangzhou-choven-century-city-experimental-school-monoarchi/> ISSN 0719-8884
© Zhi Xia

杭州市崇文世纪城实验学校 / 度向建筑

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