The New Bund School, which combines nine-year system primary and secondary schools with kindergarten, is located in Riverside International Community in the southwest of Shanghai New Bund International Business District, its northeastern corner is separated by a river with the central area of the New Bund and its western and northern sides are connected with communities; the school itself is a good place where one can overlook the Huangpu River.
As a key development area in the post-Expo era, the New Bund area has become the second commercial carrier to supplement the functions of Lujiazui Central Business District. The planning structure of the whole community is an efficient, convenient and pleasant small neighborhood model. Although the school plot is large, the plot ratio is close to 1.5, which will certainly make it a high-density campus. Therefore, the design of the New Bund School needs to effectively respond to the urban public environment on a macro-scale, while on the micro-scale, it needs to form a campus environment with efficient spatial organization and convenient communication based on the demand for horizontal and vertical spatial compounding. The efficient and interesting public communication space which is squeezed out in the functional compounding is just the most critical perceptual point in the spatial experience of New Bund School, which also forms the functional architecture support and core design concept of the entire campus.
According to the surrounding urban spatial relationships and the sunshine control conditions, the playground is designed to be located in the southwest of the campus. The whole campus is divided into five relatively clear functional areas from south to north, namely, Kindergarten Department, Primary School Department, Comprehensive Teaching Department, Junior High School Department and Sports & Recreation Department. For Kindergarten Department, an independent entrance is set up in the south, while the main entrance of the primary and junior high school departments is located on the eastern road.
The challenge lies in how to create the composite and shared use of different functional areas on the premise of meeting the functions of various parts and streamlining rationality. The ultra-high spatial density of New Bund School, which is much higher than the standard plot ratio 0.8 for the schools in Shanghai, just creates the conditions for our design strategy, and urges us to define this composite campus space with two types of space: platform and courtyard.
According to the surrounding urban spatial relationships and the sunshine control conditions, the playground is designed to be located in the southwest of the campus. The whole campus is divided into five relatively clear functional areas from south to north, namely, Kindergarten Department, Primary School Department, Comprehensive Teaching Department, Junior High School Department and Sports & Recreation Department. For Kindergarten Department, an independent entrance is set up in the south, while the main entrance of the primary and junior high school departments is located on the eastern road. The challenge lies in how to create the composite and shared use of different functional areas on the premise of meeting the functions of various parts and streamlining rationality. The ultra-high spatial density of New Bund School, which is much higher than the standard plot ratio 0.8 for the schools in Shanghai, just creates the conditions for our design strategy, and urges us to define this composite campus space with two types of space: platform and courtyard.
The L-shaped step platform which faces the playground and is located on the second floor, effectively connects the Primary School Department, Comprehensive Teaching Department, Junior High School Department and Sports & Recreation Department in a way of streamline, and forms an aerial stand around the playground where people can enjoying sport activities, which makes the scenes inside and outside the building interact with each other. Teachers and students can stroll in this aerial open space to walk around the playground and overlook the river view. At the same time, the upper part of this aerial platform system combines the open public use spaces such as library and gymnasium which also face the playground, they form the most public community-oriented open interface and cognitive image of the school together with the aerial platform, contributing to the city in an open form and establish the transition and transformation relationship between campus environment and urban environment. In the northeast corner of the campus, which is the end of the negative space where the substation is located, we use the roof of the substation to connect with the canteen on the second floor to form a landscape platform similar to the campus backyard garden, on it, we can overlook the river view and the viewing platform of the New Bund’s central area on the opposite bank, making it related to the large-scale urban external space.
While using platform system to create the overall publicity of the campus, we use different types of “courtyards” both indoor and outdoor to define the publicity within each functional area. The middle Comprehensive Building which connects with the whole teaching area of Primary School Department and Junior High School Department, together with the two outdoor courtyards in the south and north, which belong to the Primary School Department and Junior High School Department respectively, form a courtyard style inward spatial pattern, providing students with centrality and convenience for break time activities. The four different indoor atriums distributed in the Comprehensive Building, library and Sports & Recreation Building bring bright and pleasant inner space to these two areas with the highest spatial density.
The atrium of the Comprehensive Building is particularly long and narrow, and the high side windows on the roof can complement the natural lighting to the specialized classrooms on both sides. The oblique cross stairs break the traditional monotonous experience of the loop corridor and arouse students’ interest in the free cross-floor space by creating a dramatic space.
While, the side atrium which is located at the eastern end of the Comprehensive Building and formed by making use of the limitation of irregular terrain is a place where the building communicates with the city, the spiraling stair-stepping space inside connects the multiple functions of different floors and provides an self-directed activity and rest place for the dense group of specialized classrooms.
Located between the third and fourth floors at the western end of the Comprehensive Building, the large step side atrium linking the upper and lower spaces of the library is not only like a multi-functional open assembly space, but also creates an important vitality core for the public interface of the school.
The atrium in the middle of Sports & Recreation Building linearly connects the four core functions through a spiraling public staircase, which has effectively solved the traffic organization of the swimming pool, basketball gym, table tennis gym, theater, canteen and other large-volume vertical composite spaces. Both the zigzag north-facing skylight above the atrium and the circuitous up-and-down path inside the atrium are flexible and with light and shadow, creating the space atmosphere of Sports & Recreation Building, that is concise from outside and fractal from inside.
Since the Kindergarten Department is going to be operated independently, its overground part is completely separated from the primary and junior high schools, but connected with them through the underground garage. At the same time, at the western end of the second and third floors, the department combines the multi-function hall and the office area into a cantilevered volume with a double-decked high balcony, continuing the public interface toward the playground and the community. In response to the set-back in the south, the Kindergarten Department organizes an indoor space around a small atrium with a pleasant scale. An open staircase circling in the atrium connects the floors together and expands to a small indoor open theater on the ground floor.
Due to the high-density functions and spatial compounding, special structural technology is adopted in New Bund School’s key areas to realize composite spaces. For example, the platform system around the playground adopts a special oblique column structure to form the sense of suspension of upper volume and the openness of the platform. For the sports section in the west of the Sports & Recreation Building, where the complicated steel structure is adopted, the three large-span spaces, including swimming pool, basketball gym and table tennis gym are superimposed on each other. Especially for table tennis gym on the top-floor, it is actually formed by the enlarged space between the roof trusses of the basketball gym. Besides, in order to provide natural lighting for the basketball gym, we have reserved two huge skylight light wells which pass through the table tennis gym.
As a whole, the campus adopts a unified white tone and concise volume to create a unified form full of identification, but in the key parts, special materials are used to express spatial intentions. For example, several boxes suspended in the air around the playground with transparent interfaces, the volume of middle and traverse comprehensive building enclosed by coppery vertical sunshades and the malocclusion-style protrusion volume which is composed of glass and coppery perforated plates on the interface facing the city in the west and north of Sports & Recreation Building. In the interior space the sprightly background color continued to be white, but all the streamlining volumes, such as the steps and stairs in the atriums, are made up of warm and pleasant wood color veneers, strengthening the form-giving characteristics of public streamlines. Apart from this, a large number of wooden acoustic boards are used indoor interface in the gymnasium and auditorium, creating a cordial feeling in the special large space.