In traditional campuses in China, you can always see a similar layout of buildings and sports fields connected by roads for vehicular traffic and filled in with lawns. The Affiliated High School of Peking University, dating back to early 1960s, was no exception. Over more than half a century, the campus experienced several shifts but still kept many of its original characteristics.
Today, based on the school's new concept of student-centered education, Crossboundaries adjusted this by gone campus’ landscape, liberating its spacial constraints, complimenting the 2016 transformation of indoor learning space, sports and art center.
- Returning roads to pedestrians We found in these traditional campuses, pedestrain flow is usually pushed to the sides of the road, people prioritized after vehicles, despite the frequency and volume of people’s traffic surpassing any vehicular activity. The perceived presence of cars reduces the sense to move around the campus comfortably and maintains an underlying sense of unsafety. People don’t only walk to pass from one point to another, they also have the appetite to spend time in the outdoor spaces to rest or shake off excess energy. So where is the space for these activities?To shift in priority of spaces for pedestrain and cars, a main road in the central area was cancelled, leaving more space for students and teachers.
- Deminishing the “isolated islands” Removing the road, we also reinvented several previously enclosed, single-functioned spaces on the campus, giving way to more consistant free space to meander, rest or play. Flipping a “caged” basketball court into an open sunken activity ground, its boundary fence was entirely removed and seating added to form a new edge. Now entirely open, the area is transformed giving both simplified visual and physical connections, offering alternative space in the campus for communication, exchange and interaction. In the center of the campus there is a large lawn, a formerly underused place for no one would enjoy such a large empty space, especially in a context were it is not customary to sit on the grass. Converting this uninviting lawn into a functional and useful space for students and teachers, we added a variety of benches on and near the lawn, creating an “outdoor classroom” or “living room” for all kinds of gatherings. Hidden just around the corner is another outdoor space that served only to allow firetrucks to pass in the event of an emergency, severing two active parts of the same building. Ultimately its greatest asset now is adding purpose and appeal to a former dead space, serving as a complex set of functions, featuring a 100 meter running track, display walls and some seating.