The design of NO.33 Senior High School of Shenzhen explores the synergy of work, play, and learning. It is an academy not only designed for teaching and learning, but one that derives from and integrates into nature. Basking in the warm sunshine and endless star glow, one may search for the bounty of the heart in the wide open space.
The project is located at the intersection of Hongmian 3rd Road and Guangda Road, Longgang District, Shenzhen. It is a public boarding high school that will accommodate 1,800 students in 36 classes, with a total floor area of 70,000 square metres in a 40,000-square-metre site.
The site borders Dalinggu Park on the west. The designers hope to bring the school into nature by designing a hillside campus, in which the picturesque natural landscape could nourish the growth of students and leave them beautiful memories.
In respond to the site’s urban context, the teaching area and living area are positioned on the west part of the site, providing easy access to the park, and a quiet, peaceful surrounding. The sports field is elevated and set on the east, overlooking the busy road junction. The southeast area below the elevated sports field also serves as a sports park for local residents, providing open-access sports facilities and public venues to the community.
Sloped Terrain, Porous Landscape
The school benefits from its adjacency to the beautiful Dalinggu Park on its west. The design sees the site and the mountain as a continuous piece of landscape where lush greenery flows in naturally. Multiple layers of landscapes are shaped so that the school becomes a dialogue between the city and nature.
The ground floor of the school is elevated, and modification to the site’s topography is minimized. The ground becomes a coherent piece of undulating, porous landscape.
The fourth floor is designed as an activity platform dotted with trees and flowers, echoing the greenery of the hill.
Gazing at Nature
As visitors enter the school, the greenery and undulating topography of the foot of the hill is shown before them through the v-shaped concrete columns. Strolling up the sinuous ramp, one reaches the activity platform on the fourth floor, where he could bath in sunlight and branch shadows and gaze into the hill and the woods. The classrooms, playground, library and dormitories are all surrounded by lush greenery.
A continuous grass slope is designed at the school entrance to link the ground and the activity platform, while also creating a spatial experience that resembles a mountain stroll.
Shadows From Light
An activity platform dotted with trees and flowers is designed on the fourth floor, echoing the greenery of the hill. The story about Confucius telling his disciplines beneath apricot trees illustrates the ancient ideal of educational spaces. Inspired by Confucius’ Apricot Platform, the design conceives green spaces with shade trees for informal learning activities, including the activity platform and multiple atriums.
Blurring Work And Play
The classrooms are put into three separate 2-storey building volumes on top of the activity platform, with abundant natural daylight and beautiful views. It provides efficient circulation for students and teachers between classes, while also encouraging interaction between educational spaces and activity spaces, between work and play.
Picturesque Valley, Poetic Gallery
Various landscape valleys are formed from the site’s topography and the building volumes, separating the teaching area, living area, and sports area.
The valley is filled with abundant vegetation, above which students could reach the various areas of the school through elevated passages. Green spaces permeate every corner of the school. Multiple elevated landscape ramps and galleries are designed to link buildings at different floor levels, providing convenient and interesting spatial connection.
Dormitory With View
The student dormitory building is laid out on the north of the site. The teachers’ apartment is on the west, close to the school entrance to make commuting more convenient. To increase the coherence of different areas, an activity platform is designed on the 7th floor of the dormitory building to connect the activity platform of the teaching area. The platform separates the boys’ and girls’ dormitory, while also offering a viewpoint into the hill and the woods.
The entrance hall for the dormitory is designed on the activity platform. After class, male and female students can return to their dormitories using separate elevators. There is a secondary entrance hall on the ground floor for weekend and holiday returns.
A Sharing Community
Beneath the elevated sports field, the southwestern part of the site becomes a park for residents of the surrounding neighbourhood, providing them open-access sports facilities and public venues. The area also serves as a temporary parking lot during peak hours, providing parents with nice waiting and pick-up space.
The rhythmic sound of students reading together, the beautiful landscape spread before our eyes, the peaceful environment and dynamic spaces of the school create infinite possibilities for the school’s future. A unique learning experience could perhaps be shaped by the birds’ singing and the countless shades of green outside the classroom window.
Project Title: Design and Construction of the NO.33 Senior High School of Shenzhen Location: Intersection of Hongmian 3rd Road and Guangda Road, Yuanshan Community, Longgang District, Shenzhen, Guangdong Province Design: Shanghai Huadu Architecture & Urban Design Co., Ltd. (HDD) Lead Architects: YANG Cai, DONG Weiwei Project Team: YANG Tao, ZHOU Zhaomin, YANG Hanyu, WANG Shijie, OSEI ASANTE EBENEZER, WU Ying, ZHANG Xinyue, CHEN Fan, LI Lei Client: Construction and Public Works Department of Longgang District, Shenzhen Status: Shortlisted Competition Entry Design Time: September 2021 Floor Area: 70,000 square metres