Taiyuan No. 5 Middle School
A building plan for a middle school involves relatively rare complex functions. Therefore, regarding general functional planning, the architectural complex is organized into a centralized layout with the teaching area in the center, encompassed by areas serving other functions such as living, sports, catering and cultural activities.
Although the complex adjoins a main road in the west, the teaching area is saved from noise disturbance thanks to its location in the center. The land in the east is reserved for future expansion or an anticipatory primary school and thus posing a functional requirement for the usage of gym. Therefore, it is more sensible to locate the gym in the east.
Considering the scale of the road, the southern side of the land lot is more appropriate for the location of the main entrance to the campus. In this way, the wide boulevard with trees on the sides serves as a prologue to the campus and also an indication to the architectural complex of teaching buildings. Large-scale venues are all situated near the main entrance, responding to the potential possibilities to be open to the public.
The inspiration for the layout of the complex of teaching buildings is drawn from the fact that life needs the sunlight for its growth. The organic structure of beings formed through evolvement exemplifies how sunlight can be captured: the leaves of plants interlace each other. In this way, as many as possible leaves are laid out, the interval distance between two leaves is increased, avoiding blocking by each other and more sunlight can be absorbed. On the other hand, such a structure eases the congestion and stress concentration in the pipelines conveying nutrition in the petioles, when it reduces the possibility of symmetrical layout of leaves.
Inspired by this structure, the layout plan will be themed with an intertwining of virtually and reality of courtyards and buildings: the volumes of teaching buildings are deconstructed, then restructured in the form of repetitive units and finally connected by linear transporting corridors. In this plan, architectural units resemble leaves and the paths inside are branches connecting them. Through an interlacement of architectural units, with limitedly available land lot, each unit has a larger surface contacting fresh air and an interval distances between buildings can be realized to receive the natural light.
This structure of repetitive interlacing units can furthermore add the sense of order and vividness to the facades, reminding people of the tranquilness of countryside and presenting the characteristics of a campus building. The courtyards inside and outside integrate themselves into each other through the crevice of the corridors between buildings. When walking through courtyards with various scale and characters, students are able to gain a multitude of spatial experiences and feel a unique spirit of each space, thus identifying themselves with the campus and strengthen the sense of belonging to it.
Concerning the layout, we concentrate ourselves on diversified potentials and possibilities giving the current depth of research. Taking the layout of the typical floor of the teaching building as an example, the first plan with single-corridor bilateral layout and the second with two-corridor circular layout are both put forward, whose advantages and disadvantages respectively responds to different needs of the users. The appearance of the building features its characteristics and principles are set to achieve that goal, among which two are the most significant, namely, to accord with the atmosphere in a middle school and to create a harmonious interaction between different architectural elements. The specific measures, like the layout planes, can be explored in various directions. We experimented different styles of façades on individual buildings and have decided so far to set a tone that is concise and partially classical and to implement vertical linear structures creating a perceptual upward tendency. In the main teaching buildings, relatively narrow but concentrated windows provide the interior space with evenly distributed natural light, while on the façades of some large-scale venues, though the same modeling elements are applied, the scale of them shall be correspondingly adjusted.
The landscape planning is the focus of this design: the wide, straight boulevard accentuating lines, winding paths through the lawn in inner courtyard, the large-scale evacuation square with a flow of people, the tranquil courtyard enclosed by teaching buildings, etc. These contrasts enrich the spatial experiences offered by the buildings and strengthen the characters of each space. These feelings help students develop a sense of belonging and compose their memories that can be recalled after years. All in all, the above-mentioned ideas should be the focus of our planning at this stage that call for primary consideration and examination.