Located in the Future Science and Technology City area of western Hangzhou, the Haishu School is a 12-class kindergarten and 27-class elementary school complex designed by LYCS Architecture. The school's design is inspired by the language of children's drawings, where the ideal campus is full of friendly scales and joyful streets. The architects have thus divided the 28,000 square meter volume into 15 small buildings with gable roofs. These buildings gradually increase the building scale according to the different scales and behaviors of the kindergarten and elementary school grades, shaping a children friendly and pleasantly scaled campus through the combination of small-scale courtyards.
The design breaks the shackles of traditional campus space and gives the children the happy space they deserve at this age. The building group consists of teaching building, administration building, gymnasium, cafeteria and other functions, and each functional space is linked through connecting corridors, inner courtyards and corridors with different degrees of opening. The corridors and staircases, which are spaces other than classrooms, are not only used as connections to classrooms, but also as places where children meet; playgrounds and roofs are not only the functions literally embodied, but also spaces for children to communicate. The school serves as a small-scale society in which children build their own sense of community through personal experience.
The kindergartens and elementary school are distributed from south to north, and the building heights gradually become higher accordingly to meet the activities of students of different ages and the demand for space at different physical scales, and students have a more intimate feeling of the campus environment. At the same time, the small houses rich in changes break the rigid building arrangement of the city and enrich the changes of the building skyline.
The small-scaled buildings shape distinctive inner courtyards, while the building volumes create interesting street spaces between them. The composition pattern of the inner courtyard and street makes the connections between the school buildings surrounded but not enclosed. Meanwhile, it also makes the outdoor space interesting and layered, creating rich possibilities for students' after-school activity space and more relevant to children's feelings.
To provide more interesting activity spaces for children, the architects use gable roofs and take advantage of the spaces under. According to the programs of each building and the characteristics of children's age, the roof space is designed to create roof activity spaces that can be freely explored and creatively used by children. Such as a playground for peek-a-boo, a planting garden for understanding plants, a small theater for listening to stories told by teachers, a reading room for quiet reading, a running track, etc.
In the school's light gray and white color scheme, the gable walls become a distinctive feature. Each gable wall has its characteristics in terms of form and material. The interlocking combination of these gable walls accented with bright colors such as yellow, green, and orange enriches the vibrant and lively atmosphere of the campus space. It enhances the sense of belonging and place.
The facade of five of the buildings is presented in deep red color, giving the campus a rhythmic yet uniform texture. Children can describe the locations according to different gable facade instead of building names or numbers, forming an interesting cognitive map of the campus in their minds.
The entire campus and buildings are integrated with the scale, growth, and emotions of the children. The "small town story" type of planning will allow children to wander through the fairytale-like town.