The Challenges of Campus Renovation
The campus renovation presents both an opportunity for change and a process of evolution. It represents the refinement of ideas and the preservation of tradition. However, it also presents a multitude of limitations. With the need to continue using existing classrooms, the renovation period is limited to just two months during summer break. Additionally, as a non-profit institution, the school faces budgetary constraints, requiring the efficient utilization of existing mechanical and electrical equipment and furniture. To overcome these challenges, the design strategy adopts an “acupuncture-style” approach, starting with the renovation of the outdated exterior and public areas, and gradually modernizing the rest of the teaching spaces in the coming years.
Facade Transformation and Campus Spirit
This school building was built in the 1990s, with blue being its theme color. Over the past 30 years, the facade has consistently featured a blue and white color scheme. To preserve the memories of the campus, the distinctive blue and white color scheme of the original facade was preserved, but a different approach was taken for the main entrance and facade materials.
In the design of the main entrance, we extended the range of the canopy to address the persistent issue of entering the school during rainy weather. By creating semi-outdoor transitional spaces, the added depth to the canopy enhances the sense of ritual for students as they enter the campus. The blue-gradient perforated logo wall, with its dynamic effect, also conveys the lively and innovative spirit of the school.
The exterior of the building before the renovation appeared cluttered due to the presence of air conditioning units. We addressed this issue by integrating the air conditioning louvers with the facade using a single, perforated aluminum panel, creating a more cohesive and refined appearance while also accentuating the shape of the main entrance.
Design Language and Color Scheme
To convey the energetic spirit of elementary school students, we employed round and curved lines, as well as multi-layered forms, to create a dynamic and engaging space. In terms of the interior design, we maintained the blue and white color scheme from the exterior facade and used various shades of blue as the main color palette, paired with the warmth of natural wood, resulting in a lively and inviting atmosphere.
The lobby serves as the first point of entry for students into the school building and is a key space that reflects the campus’ spirit. With this in mind, the design of the lobby was approached with two main objectives. Firstly, to create a more lively atmosphere, the sharp corners of the skylight were transformed into rounded ones. Secondly, to create a space that points towards the core, a white grille with a concentric arrangement was designed on the first and second floor ceilings. The white lines enhance the central role of the atrium as the core of the campus space. To create a visual focus for the atrium and the grille lines, a logo wall was constructed in the form of a grille between the lobby and staircase along the skylight. The transparency of the grille enables continuity between the two sides of the space and prevents the small space from feeling cramped.
Corridor and Staircase
The school hallways are often adorned with students’ artwork, but the lack of a designated posting area causes them to appear cluttered. In response, the design features blue rounded frames and a wall panel with an indented artwork placement to clearly define the display area. The alternating heights and spacing of the blue rounded frames lend a harmonious rhythm to the lengthy hallway. Wooden surfaces outside of the frames serve as separators between art displayed by different classes and provide a visual break from the vibrant walls. The white grille on the ceiling mirrors the lines in the lobby, while the floor’s guiding patterns direct students to the classrooms and add a lively touch to the hallways.
The design of the staircase takes into account both time and budget constraints. To maintain a consistent style with the walls, the original stainless steel handrails were retained and the railing sections were re-covered with a wood veneer. Additionally, the walls were also utilized for displaying students’ works.
The design concept for the library is centered around a circular theme, which we have integrated into the walls, ceiling, and floor to create a harmonious rhythm throughout the space. The circular seating and rounded curves of the ceiling, combined with circular column covers, seamlessly blend the columns into the overall aesthetic, while maintaining a sense of openness. This circular language extends from within the library to the entrance, immediately capturing children’s attention with a playful image and making the circle a signature symbol of the library’s design.
The multipurpose hall functions both as a performance venue and a sports activity area. In design, it must possess a degree of flexibility and openness, so the entire floor serves as an event space, apart from the designated stage area. The ceiling lights adopt a checkerboard pattern, which not only aligns with the square windows on the facade but also imbues the space with a dynamic character. The rectangular design of the ceiling extends to the walls, forming framed landscapes. The frames may showcase the outdoor view or a wall displaying the school’s slogan. The seats blend into the window frame design, enhancing the overall coherence of the space and resolving the previous safety concern caused by the prominent seating arrangement. The space radiates an energetic vibe for sports activities while still maintaining its poise as a performance hall.
Project location: Xuhui District, Shanghai, China
Project area: 8200㎡
Status: Construction Complete
Design Finish Year: 2018
Completion Year: 2019