The scope of the design is to provide three public facilities fundamental for the wellbeing of a community in a new neighborhood in the Southern New Town of Nanjing. The site is adjoint to a well-developed public green network planned in the new district. The space for education intersects the space for living into what corresponds to the public space for socialization. Our goal is to design the space for the core values of a community: learning and socializing.
Our strategy is to unify the design language across the four sites and to partially extend it over the public space currently in place. The space for education intersects the space for living into what corresponds to the public space for socialization. Our goal is to design the space for the core values of a community: learning and socializing.
Teaching is like planting the seed of knowledge into pupils’ minds and hearts. Once carefully and passionately planted, these seeds will grow forever with the students and will make them grow into intelligent amazing persons. Elliptical shapes resembling the seeds are used to determine both the landscape design and the position of the main volumes of the architecture. The free composition of the ellipses and circles allows endless bi-dimensional combinations that can be enriched even further by the addition of inner offsets and a diverse range of materials.
The design of the primary school originates from the concept of juxtaposition of simple volumes over a free-form podium. The podium represents the main horizontal circulation space of the entire complex but it supersedes a mere transitional role, as it seamlessly reaches all the school units whilst providing abundant space for common areas and shared rooms for staff and students.
In order to make the volumes on top ‘float’ over the podium, the facades are treated with different materials: brick walls are chosen for the heavy objects on top whilst a more evanescent aluminum cladding covers the first floor reflecting its surroundings.
The kindergarten is a three storey-high building with a quite typical open courtyard layout embracing a central protected playground. The building volume consists of extruded elliptical shapes placed in accordance with the landscape design and intersecting with each other.
The classrooms are arranged along the South and West sides maximizing the sun exposure. The elliptical volumes are encircled by balconies with integrated planters that provide shade to the outdoor and indoor space.
The Community Center is located at the northern edge of the public green area adjacent to the central green axis, between the Primary School to the West and the Kindergarten to the East. Being located at the heart of the neighborhood’s public area, our concept design for the Community Center aims at the continuity between public space and architecture, creating a building that is truly public and open to the community.
Due to the proximity to the prominent bricks cladded educational buildings, our design strategy for the Community Center is to have a more subtle architectural language in order to avoid it to visually stand out during the day.
The curvy pedestrian paths in the public green area follow the elliptical landscape design and are designed to lead the visitors towards the building. In order to keep pedestrian and vehicular circulation separate, a large sunken plaza crossed by a bridge links the ground floor to the basement level, where the park’s public facilities and shops are located before access the car parking.