Architects: Atelier Global
- Area : 8621 m²
- Year : 2022
Photographs :Hangtian Zheng
- Cheif Designer : Frankie Lui
- Design Team : Vienna So, Yinghao Zhong, Poon Siu Fung, Shuchen Wang, Xieze Zeng, Mengyu Liu, Jue Wang, Weiteng Huang
- Client : Hongkong Vitoria Education Group
- City : Shen Zhen
- Country : China
Site Environment: "Picturesque Mountain Scenery" - Victoria Park Academy is the first school of Victoria (China) Education Group in Shenzhen. Located on the north side of Dananshan Mountain in Nanshan District, adjoining Li Lin Park and Dananshan Park, the outdoor space features a soccer field, a basketball court/ tennis court/ athletic field, and a running track. When students step out of the classroom, they are embraced by natural and peaceful mountain scenery, enhancing their connection to nature. The original red brick building consists of two gymnasiums, and in the design renovation, AG preserves the original gable roof structure, which is a series of M-shaped gables that echo the hills where the site is set. Making the most of the natural setting of the site, the design takes inspiration from it and tries to create a harmonious environment with students and teachers at its core. The new campus design tries to promote social interaction and collaboration, and at the same time, bring nature seamlessly into the campus.
Sectional Strategy: “Blue Mountain Corridor” - A ‘Blue Mountain Corridor’, shaped like flowing water, is a centerpiece that connects the whole campus. Like an endless river of knowledge, the Corridor brings students from the Salon to the Grand Steps, and to the Atrium Courtyard; besides serving the purpose of circulation, it also facilitates interactions at different scales, such as reading, discussions, group play, seminar, and speeches, etc. It integrates functional space with the notion of ‘nature, openness, and humanity’, integrating nature and seasonal mountain scenery with the learning experience. The public space is categorized into three types: enlightenment, learning, and autonomy, based on different age groups. Reading, learning, speech-making, leisure, and communication are enriched by the design concept of flowing water and shared nature. To name a few thematic spaces on the campus: Grand Steps - Chasing Dream Stairs; the free space between classrooms – Litchi atrium; the brainstorming corner - Chattering Little Square； the art exhibition hallway - Da Vinci Wonderland; and the knowledge sharing corner - TED Lilin. Students are more easily engaged in interaction and be inspired through flexible functional settings and multi-dimensional architectural space design.
Space Design: "Permeability of nature” - Our aim is to create a ‘school’ as well as a ‘Fairyland’ for the students. The space design caters to both learning and teaching, and the renovation makes a few small-scale interventions, bringing sunlight and fresh air in to create a seamless connection with nature. From the airy open atrium which brings daylight into the entrance area, to the multifunctional salon area with multimedia learning, leisure, and social networking; and from the art gallery on the ground floor to the specialty reading area on the second floor. The design is pervious to nature: the vibrantly colored space, the daylighting change from the skylight, and the perception of subtle changes in seasons.
The existing gable roof structure was retained with partial cut-outs, which allows direct visual to the sky and enhances lighting and air circulation. Sunlight is transmitted to deeper parts of the indoor space, creating an environment where ‘nature’ is tangible. The Grand Steps connecting to the second floor integrate circulation and function; at the center of the entire campus, it acts as a multifunctional area. Some of the steps are paved with natural wood logs where students can sit for a semi-outdoor presentation, a brainstorming session, or a briefing session; and during recess, the Grand Steps become a playground for the students. The dance studio is located on the top floor, where sunlight is the most abundant. The underside of the room is on top of the Grand Steps where the ceiling design is embedded with hanging tracks so that the entrance atrium can be used as a small art exhibition gallery; together with the large LED screen facing the main door, the two elements complement each other to establish the first visual impression.
The existing building was converted into a 36-classroom campus, and we are mindful to articulate the scale of the space, carefully considering the existing staircase dimensions and handrail heights. For example, we carved out parts of the facade on both sides of the Grand Steps in order to bring daylight into the adjacent classrooms; and we have designed a continuous book stand with a 3cm wooden slot, integrated to the balustrade so that students can bring a book from the adjacent library and place it on the reading rack anywhere around the atrium and creates an autonomous reading environment. The Litchi atrium is an activity space that utilizes the 10-minutes recess interval between classes. Blue concrete as flooring with green landscape, it has visual connections to all the function rooms and circulation space around the atrium. The Litchi atrium is well illuminated with sunlight, creating a free and harmonious setting, and through architectural articulation, we try to create an interior “Fairyland”.
The semi-open "Reading Box" is located on the second floor which can be seen from the courtyard; wood and glass materials are used to express the simplicity of the building. Our design makes use of the vacant space at the bottom of the Grand Steps and created a Bar for the reception area. Using glass as a medium, with the outdoor courtyard as a background, creates a leisure space that combines active and static. It is a space where you can observe the energetic outdoor playground; and at the same time, can appreciate the calmness of the resting area. We maximized the usable floor area of the library by adding a partial mezzanine, effectively increasing the volume of book collections. And, using bookshelves as furniture, we try to create a space for both reading and small lectures, a library not only for reading but a space for guided learning and independent exploration. And the floor is cladded with natural timber, so students can sit on the insulated floor to read or have a small book club with their classmates. The music room, dance studio, and art room are linked to the entire circulation space, by using a flexible layout, we can expand a relatively confined area into public circulation, and the specialty classroom becomes a display of students’ work. Catering for students of various age groups, classroom design is adaptable and diversified, neat arrangement of loose furniture is used for junior grades, and for senior grades small group learning is enabled by round table discussion; and for class activities and leisure activities, furniture can be arranged to form a large circle. All classrooms are equipped to enable digital learning/ e-learning.