Extending Spaces and Fading Borders – Primary School Design in Xiamen China
Pedagogic research reveals that school activities are becoming increasingly diversified and flexible and many are better carried out in protected outdoor spaces. Climate analysis and fieldwork on location in Xiamen led to the conclusion that most parts of the school building can be open to the outdoor environment most of the year. This option provides a mechanism for alleviating the problem of the very high occupation density common in China. The proposed design incorporates various traditional spaces that serve as extensions of the traditional classroom spaces on each floor providing flexible learning spaces within a dense urban context. Detailed studies were undertaken to assess thermal and daylight performance including glare control and solar protection. Permeable and movable building elements feature extensively and are carefully designed to achieve good environmental conditions for occupants in different seasons and situations. The architectural language of the building blurs conventional spatial boundaries providing a dynamic expression of diverse visual and thermal experiences that respond to occupant requirements.