Text description provided by the architects. The original Zhangzha Town Primary School was damaged in the earthquake, and the scale of reconstruction after the earthquake was a school with 12 classes. The project design needs to meet the needs of local education with a short construction period and a tight construction cost supply, and moreover respond to special regional environment of humanity and climate.
The site is located in the mountain valley, and is designed to take advantage of the existing gentle slope terrain, setting up three tableland series with different elevations respectively, namely campus entrance, teaching area and sports field. Drawing on the layout characteristics of the local Tibetan villages, we split the building into a combination of multiple slope roof volumes. The gable walls face the sun, lower front and higher behind, with the undulating grey tile roofs echoing the outline of the mountains. The flat of the building encloses several semi-open three-section courtyard spaces, incorporating mountain views, and integrating the building with the environment.
The flat of the teaching building takes the Tibetan “lucky knot” pattern as a prototype, and establishes the psychological identity on the cultural icon: four square teaching modules around the central campus hall, forming a flat of centripetal aggregation. Each module measures 18 square meters and contains three standard teaching units and a service core consisting of a staircase and a restroom. Teaching units can be flexibly transformed between standard classrooms, professional classrooms and offices, in order to accommodate the elastic changes of rural primary schools.
The central campus hall is the core of crowd convergence. The hall is connected to four teaching modules in 45-degree diagonal directions respectively, and the entrances of north, south, east and west respectively lead to four courtyards, which is convenient for the interaction of indoor and outdoor activities. The campus hall is a lobby, and also serves as a multi-purpose hall that can host public events such as performances, lectures as well as exhibitions.
As a separate module, the canteen library adopts a four-slope cross-shaped roof, which is different from the double-slope roof of the teaching building. The two floors inside are connected up and down, so as to enhance the function opening and interacting.
Focusing on the plateau characteristics of large temperature difference and strong sunshine in Aba, small windows are set up on the north facade and large windows on the south facade. Aerated concrete blocks are used as insulation and enclosing materials for the building, in order to save construction cost. Through thermotechnical calculation, the thickness of the external wall of the block is 450 mm, forming the effect of thick walls and deep windows. In the winter, the central campus hall brings sunlight heat in through the south side glass wall and the top skylight to increase the indoor temperature, functioning as a winter garden and an indoor playground. The teaching module makes use of the design of aisle skylights and classroom high side windows to increase the sense of mobility of space and effectively improve the indoor lighting evenness.
Regional building characteristics
The Jiuzhai dwellings in Abacombine the characteristics of the Tibetan barbicans and the western Sichuan dwellings. The lower part is rammed earth and piled stones, the upper part is exposed wooden frame, and the construction system is clear. The design is based on this prototype, the main body is a reinforced concrete frame, its lower part is filled with masonry, and a high-side glass window is set up in the upper part, forming a material relationship of “lower weighty and upper light”. On the exterior walls of the campus hall and the canteen, a method of mixing the stones and the concrete blocks is tried out, to strengthen the structural connection by setting two-way tied steel bars. The grey stones, white walls, deep windows, wooden walls and small grey tile roofs of the building facade have continued the local construction tradition in the layer of materials and structures, enhancing the children's memories and feelings for their hometown.