OPEN's shanfeng academy building will take shape as a cluster of carved volumes in suzhou

OPEN's shanfeng academy building will take shape as a cluster of carved volumes in suzhou

open architecture in suzhou

 

New York founded and Beijing based architectural practice OPEN has revealed the design for the Shanfeng Academy project which topped out at the end of April. Situated in a new district of Suzhou city, the building will serve as the campus-centre for a new K-12 international school and will also act as a cultural hub for the local community. 

 

Historically, the city of Suzhou was synonymous with high culture and elegance.  Generations of artists, scholars, and writers in China were drawn to the poetic beauty of its gardens with their combination of rocks, water, trees, and pavilions, reflecting the Chinese appreciation of balance and harmony.

 

Now an innovative metropolis and an important business centre, Suzhou is striving to build itself into a hub of international talent, industry, and information. The challenge for OPEN was to create a major new urban project whilst being sympathetic to the heritage of the city.

OPEN shanfeng academy

 

 

solid and void

 

Designed by OPEN (see more here), the campus center at Shanfeng Academy will host nearly 2000 students, and will provide the essential and shared facilities of the school. More specifically, it will include a library, an art center, a gymnasium, a swimming pool, a grand theater of 1000 seats, a black box theater, and a master studio.

 

Considering the intensity of the functional programs and the high concentration of students — from kindergarten children to high-schoolers — architectural practice OPEN divided one massive building into five individual buildings interconnected by covered walkways.

 

By breaking down the mass and pulling them apart, voids are created in the form of four gardens and semi-outdoor spaces. The well-connected walkways easily accommodate the large number of students moving between different activities even during rainy days which are abundant in Suzhou. The gardens act as buffer zones between masses of high-density reflecting Suzhou’s own garden heritage.

OPEN shanfeng academy

 

 

the gardened shanfeng academy building

 

The gardens are designed around the four seasons, plants are selected accordingly to accentuate the traces of time. Elements of classical Suzhou gardens, such as scholar rocks, traditional pavement patterns, and the use of water, are carefully integrated into the gardens. There is also an unnamed fifth garden on the rooftop of the walkways planted with tall grasses and herbs — a pleasant retreat and social gathering place for students and teachers, it is linked to the main classroom building through a short bridge.

OPEN shanfeng academy

 

 

a space for both school and community

 

The architects worked closely with the campus planning firm which is also the local design institute for the project to place the campus centre on the main street. The building itself replaces a large portion of the fence that encloses the school campus for student safety.

 

While acting as the interface between the school and the city, the campus centre is also able to share its many facilities with the local community when the school is not in session, creating a close bond between the two. A café and a courtyard on the ground floor facing the street offer a pleasant place for parents waiting to pick up their children.

OPEN shanfeng academy OPEN shanfeng academy

OPEN-architecture-shanfeng-academy-building-suzhou-china-designboom-06a

OPEN's shanfeng academy building will take shape as a cluster of carved volumes in suzhou

OPEN-architecture-shanfeng-academy-building-suzhou-china-designboom-08a

 

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OPEN’s shanfeng academy building will take shape as a cluster of carved volumes in suzhou
 
OPEN’s shanfeng academy building will take shape as a cluster of carved volumes in suzhou
 
OPEN’s shanfeng academy building will take shape as a cluster of carved volumes in suzhou
 
OPEN’s shanfeng academy building will take shape as a cluster of carved volumes in suzhou
 
OPEN’s shanfeng academy building will take shape as a cluster of carved volumes in suzhou
 
OPEN’s shanfeng academy building will take shape as a cluster of carved volumes in suzhou
 
OPEN’s shanfeng academy building will take shape as a cluster of carved volumes in suzhou
 

project info:

 

project title: Shanfeng Academy Building

architecture: OPEN architecture | @open.architecture

location: Suzhou, China

status: Under construction

client: Mountain Education Group

 

principals in charge: LI Hu, HUANG Wenjing

project team: Shi Bingjie, Daijiro Nakayama, Jia Ke, Ye Qing, Fan Jianglong (on site), Giovanni Zorzi, Huang Zetian, Wang Fengya, Shou Chengbin, Crystal Kwan, Lu Di, Tang Ziqiao, Jia Han, Cai Zhuoqun, Chen Ruipeng

local design institute: Tongji Architectural Design (Group) Co., Ltd.

landscape design: OPEN + Z’scape

theater & acoustic consultant: JH Theatre Architecture Design Consulting Company

lighting consultant: Gradient Lighting Design Inc.

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