Tiantai Chicheng Street No. 2 Primary School is an elementary school that places a 200-meter circular track on the roof of a multi-story building, the first school to do so in China. The project is "out of the loop" due to its bold and innovative design, which has aroused social concern and discussion. The design focuses on the relationship between building and site, site and city, form and function. The architect effectively solves the problem of insufficient land area in the old town, providing a new paradigm for educational architecture in high-density cities under rapid urbanization.
The innovative concept of placing the track on the roof of the building is based on the extremely limited area of the site. With only about 7,000 square meters, if the playground is built next to the school building in a conventional way, the 200-meter circular track will take up 40% of the site, and the campus will become very tight. However, students need a playground to play sports, so how to have a comfortable scale campus and a standard-size sports field in a very limited area simultaneously became the design's key problem.
The design places a standard 200-meter track on top of the school building, adding more than 3,000 square meters of activity space for students to run and have fun. At the same time, the building's elliptical design surrounds a large, inward-facing courtyard, a green space sheltered from the city's noise. Walking into the courtyard, students can find a quiet corner to enjoy the garden or read and play, giving them a sense of inward-looking security.
The side guardrails of the runway on the roof of the building have three layers in total, the outermost layer is a 1.8m high reinforced glass protective wall, the middle layer is a 50cm green barrier, and the third protection is a 1.2m high stainless steel guardrail to ensure the safety of students. For the noise problem, a spring shock absorber is installed every 50cm under the plastic runway, i.e., another shock absorption utilizing a double-layer structure. The whole runway on the roof of the building is like a suspended runway, which cleverly solves the problem of co-vibration.
In order to provide more usable green courtyard space, the building block is rotated to create a fifteen-degree angle to the site boundary, thus creating several small plaza spaces between the exterior of the building and the site boundary, which can serve as the entrance to the school and connect to the city, as well as a secret base for the students to move around and play outdoors. The placement of the running track on the roof allows the building to have four floors, as required, in harmony with the older, more residential neighborhood.