Binhai Xiaowai High School- A Sustainable Project in Tianjin, China
On one hand, while the exceedingly polluted smog filled environments of the cities of China are coming to light, a Beijing based firm HHD_FUN is redefining sustainability through projects such as the Binhai Xiaowai High School. This project has been realized at Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city (SSTEC), China- an entire city jointly planned by both the nations to establish a resource efficient and environmentally sensitive metropolis.
This high school encompasses an area of about 40000 sq. m. The construction and utilization of this project focuses on a sustainable prescript by deploying energy saving material and technology. Not only is it label -3 rated as a green building, it also offers the right infrastructure required for any sort of educational facility.
This mixed-use complex has 36 classrooms, laboratories, presentation rooms, libraries, exhibition halls, offices, dormitories and dining areas, all of which supplement the basic purpose of a typical school building. Unlike the entire zigzag form of the building (if viewed aerially), the spaces crafted within it are rather formal and well-defined.
The ‘S’ shaped form of the built enables the space to be divided into two bays, overlooking into one plaza each, on the front and at the rear. The spaces are designed to cause a placid transition, from the largely open public plazas to the conventional domestic classrooms, with atria and corridors completing them. The atrium in a way, also harnesses the natural sunlight into the classrooms and libraries, extending a receptive environment to the young learners.
To enhance the energy efficiency, the classrooms have all been strategically positioned above the first storey oriented southwards. The library on the first level has been equipped with a presentation foyer and a cafeteria. The linear expanse of the form allows the pockets to spatially flow into one another, creating an interactive and live atmosphere for the student community. The widened circulation component, at times as a broad corridor or a series of outdoor platforms, acts as an informal extension of classrooms, stirring conversations and discussions amongst its users.
The front plaza acts as the entrance to the facility, whereas the rear one remains reserved for parking, residence and storage. Apart from the central school block, the site contains a dormitory building, an international standard soccer field and an underground parking. This arrangement of parking can cater up to 500 vehicles parked underground, thus palliating the issue of vehicular congestion in the neighborhood.
The dormitory on the southwestern edge of the site, is a 6 storey building, including a basement. The dormitory also shelters a roofed playground, a basketball court and a 25 m swimming pool. Thus students do not have to walk across the site for their fitness routines.
All of the infrastructure has been designed to utilize renewable sources by techniques such as rainwater harvesting and purification systems. The southern end of the dormitory building is designed along with the stadium’s 400m grandstand running track to minimize the built-up and make the most of what’s available. With all this deftness, Binhai Xiaowai High School sets a benchmark for sustainable and green pedagogical spaces.
By: Khushboo Vyas