Hangzhou Daguan Primary School Xiangfu Branch
Hangzhou Daguan Primary School Xiangfu Branch
Goa (Group Of Architects)
Elementary & Middle School
Commencing its operations in September 2023, Daguan Primary School (Xiangfu Branch) is a significant component of the Xiangfu Bridge Historic District Renewal initiative in Gongshu District, Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province.
The school was constructed under the EPC (Engineering, Procurement, and Construction) general contracting framework, with GOA’s significant involvement in every stage, from conceptualization to implementation.
“The design of educational architecture should go beyond basic functionality, with the space acting as a dynamic medium for rich behaviors, establishing an environment that encourages spontaneous exploration.” ZHANG Xun, Lead Architect, Senior Principal of GOA.
Continue in Fabric, Shift in Scale - The site features unique attributes due to its proximity to the historic district, making it an essential component of the urban regeneration plan. Reflecting on the site’s historical context serves as the design origin. As the city develops, the memories of its past become ingrained in the urban fabric.
Within this landscape, the old streets and alleys bear profound recollections. In accordance with the initial governmental plan, the school's red line interrupted Xiangfu Street, which had once served as the town’s primary access.
However, in homage to local historical significance, the design extends this street and transforms it into the campus's central axis. This axis connects the north and south entrances of the campus, thereby dividing the school into two clusters - east and west.
Situated on the periphery of the redevelopment district, the school interacts with multiple urban scales. Tall residential structures and urban viaducts dominate to the south and east, while a commercial block is designed in a traditional style to the north. Building upon this context, carefully staggered school volumes establish a harmonious texture that bridges adjacent spatial scales.
The warm-hued white walls harmonize with the historical ambiance. The façade follows a fundamental compositional discipline, employing points, lines, and surfaces to establish a contrast between solidness and void. The resulting vibrant image resonates with a melodic flow.
Dynamic Fluidity in Campus Spaces - The central axis extends from Xiangfu Street, serving as a communal corridor. The academic zone is situated to the west, with classrooms and offices surrounding a central courtyard.
To the east, the cultural and sports zone includes facilities such as a library, auditorium, canteen, gymnasium, and track field. The architects believe that educational spaces should be not only functional but also inspiring and transformative.
Therefore, Daguan Primary School's design transcends the constraints of traditional learning spaces, establishing a diverse and dynamic spatial hierarchy and an environment that embraces nature. Such an approach encourages opportunities for incidental and spontaneous learning.
The academic zone on the west is designed to surround an inner courtyard, fostering a sense of privacy and safety. This enclosed courtyard is subdivided into smaller pixels, introducing varied terrain to slow down students’ movements.
Lush greenery adorns the undulating terraces, allowing young learners to engage with the natural world and feel the changing seasons. Additionally, this introverted layout serves as a buffer against the bustling urban surroundings, fostering an optimal academic environment. The entrance hall is integrated with art studios, providing a versatile open space for exhibitions and family-oriented events.
The eastern cultural and sports activity zone comprises a library, auditorium, cafeteria, gymnasium, and track field. These units are interconnected through a three-dimensional circulation system, weaving a cohesive and organic spatial network.
Integrating stacked volumes and connecting corridors blurs the boundaries between levels, forming activity zones at varying heights. This design strategy not only encourages the creative utilization of spaces to foster diverse scenarios but also provides adaptable venues for educational and leisure activities.
In contrast to the academic zone, the cultural and sports zone features a three-dimensional pedestrian system that provides opportunities for exploring new accesses and fresh interactions.
Despite the constraints of limited urban land, the school offers children a cherished memory reminiscent of a delightful park stroll through its meandering pathways.
Radiating Cultural Influences - The design objective of Daguan Primary School goes beyond mere educational value, aiming to have a broader potential impact on the surrounding cultural fabric. The architects envision the school interacting with the city and addressing shortages in local cultural activities throughout its future operations.
The design presents opportunities for realizing the vision. The academic zone facilitates self-contained operations, ensuring a secure and private educational environment.
Simultaneously, the cultural and sports zone can operate as an independent entity, with the potential to open to the public during specified periods, such as weekends, following suitable management regulations.
Adhering to this concept, the school's track field, library, and canteen will link seamlessly with the commercial and waterfront areas through Xiangfu Street, resulting in a vibrant and comprehensive public space system.
Education serves a broader purpose of preserving and advancing culture. Beyond being a vehicle for knowledge dissemination, schools have the potential to serve as cultural promoters for the community.
The design of Daguan Primary School places value on historical context. It extends its influence to enhance the surrounding urban space, contributing to a public building teeming with diverse possibilities in northern Hangzhou.