OPEN Architecture Reveals Design for Shanfeng Academy Campus in Suzhou, China

OPEN Architecture Reveals Design for Shanfeng Academy Campus in Suzhou, China

Architecture firm OPEN has revealed the design of Shanfeng Academy, a project currently under construction that was completed in late April, marking the completion of its culmination. The new campus center, located in a new area of ​​Suzhou City, will house a K-12 international school while also aiming to serve as a cultural hub for the local community.

Surrounded by canals, the city of Suzhou is known for its historic gardens with temples, bridges, pavilions and rock carvings. These, along with the sites of traditional Chinese architecture, provide a counterpoint to the city’s active social life and rapidly changing business sector. The challenge for OPEN architects was to create a large-scale urban project while being sensitive to the city’s heritage.

Courtesy of OPENCourtesy of OPENCourtesy of OPENCourtesy of OPEN+ 18

Shanfeng Academy’s new campus is designed to accommodate nearly 2,000 students, from kindergarten to high school students. In order to disperse the high concentration of users, the architectural firm OPEN decided to divide the volume into five individual buildings, all linked together by covered walkways. These allow a large number of students to move freely between activities, even in bad weather. The center of campus includes a library, art center, gymnasium, swimming pool, 1000-seat theater, black box theater, and forum.

A nod to the character of the city, four gardens are laid out in the empty spaces between the campus buildings. Elements of classical Suzhou gardens, such as scholarly rocks, traditional pavement patterns, and the use of water, are integrated into these outdoor and semi-outdoor spaces. The landscaping and plants selected also reflect the changes of each of the four seasons. A fifth recreational space is organized on the roof as a place of retreat and social gathering for students and teachers, as it is connected to the main classroom building by a small bridge.

Courtesy of OPEN
Courtesy of OPEN

The main center of the campus is placed at the edge of the main street, replacing much of the fence surrounding the school to ensure student safety. This allows the campus to play the role of interface between the school and the city and to open up some of its functions to the whole community. Street-facing amenities, such as the cafe and a courtyard, provide a place for parents to interact while waiting to pick up their children.

Courtesy of OPEN
Courtesy of OPEN

White coffered concrete is adopted for the building envelope, both to pay homage to the traditional architecture with white walls and gray roof of the Suzhou region, and to reduce maintenance costs and interventions. All interior spaces benefit from natural light and ventilation which improve interior comfort and reduce energy consumption.

OPEN, an architectural firm based in Beijing, expressed the hope that the center of the campus could become a new type of cultural hub combining the rich cultural heritage of the city with the contemporary dimension of this newly urbanized district. Other projects by the architects also aim to establish a connection with local communities, such as the Chapel of Sound overlooking the mountainous rural area of ​​the Great Wall of Jinshanling or the Tower of the Sun in the Chinese coastal city of Yantai.

Courtesy of OPEN
Courtesy of OPEN

Credits

  • Architects: TO OPEN
  • Main officials: LI Hu, HUANG Wenjing
  • Project team: SHI Bingjie, Daijiro Nakayama, JIA Ke, Ye Qing, FAN Jianglong (on site), Giovanni Zorzi, HUANG Zetian, WANG Fengya, SHOU Chengbin, Crystal Kwan, LU Di, TANG Ziqiao, JIA Han, CAI Zhuoqun, CHEN Ruipeng
  • Local design institute: Tongji Architectural Design (Group) Co., Ltd.
  • Landscaping: OPEN + Z’scape
  • Theater and Acoustics Consultant: JH Theater Architecture Design Consulting Company
  • Lighting Consultant: Gradient Lighting Design Inc.



Source link

Rozella J. Cook