Waldorf School in China
Huangjiang Town, DONGGUAN
|2017 (project) 9000 Squaremeter|
|Inclusive Kindergarten and Teachers Training Centre|
|Architect: Espen Tharaldsen. Assistants: Song Fangzhou, Wang Cihang, Luo Jiancong, … and more.|
|Consultant interior: SNØHETTA, Bjørg Aabø MNIL|
|Consultant sustainability: GAIA Architects, Chris Butters|
Banpo Waldorf School
The planned Banpo school is located in a lush evergreen valley between the cities of Shenzhen and Dongguan. The valley winds itself in a southeasterly direction with the opening to the North.
The major entrance area is reached just passing a field for teaching biodynamic cultivation and an outdoor sports stadium. In front of the stadium is the entrance square with a car park. Through a large covered entrance porch the pedestrian access is along a central spine becoming the core element of the plan, to both sides of which the building complex unfolds itself past the secondary school and primary school, branching off the kindergarten into a small recess in the hillside, ending up in the assembly hall and teachers college behind it.
The design of this complex exposes the classroom as a basic unit breaking down the scale and allowing units to be recessed or brought forward in relation to the spine, as well as in height as there are one, two and three stories. The spine becomes an alley of great spatial variation, and all functions are accessed from here, directly or via open stairs and balconies, thus nourishing the social life.
All buildings carry an open steel frame with climbing greenery on the roof. The surrounding greenery is present between buildings, in covered passages or through open structures. Screens and canopies offer shaded areas as protection from the intense sun.
In this way the building complex will be closely connected to the identity of the site. The interplay of the basic rhythms of nature from the outside and those emanating from the pedagogic activities and children’s play from the inside, together with the rhythms of the built environment itself will hopefully produce a school environment that can meet the demands of teaching new generations in China in the 21. Century.