It wasn’t possible to build a school with adjacent sporting facilities, so architects came up with an idea of creating one on top of the other. And it’s a really great idea.
Increasingly dense urban fabric of Chinese cities leaves little space for use and poses some serious challenges. With large sports fields the problem is often solved by locating them literally inside housing blocks or downscaling from the optimal to compromised sizes.
The Chinese city of Tiantai also faced the shortage of space as a plot of 7,000 sqm was selected to accommodate a major primary school, volleyball and basketball fields and an elliptic running track. The sporting facilities themselves would consume 40% of the available plot. Which was really small and tightly surrounded by other buildings, as seen below.
LYCS Architects decided to rethink the concept completely, achieving quite a remarkable outcome. The main idea was putting everything upside down quite literally – the running track went up to the roof and became the future school’s blueprint.
This way a vast courtyard of 3,000 sqm was created (over 40% of the plot), offering space to students as well as feeling of safety in the enclosed form. Inward-oriented classrooms have access to sunlight from the outside and inside of the building, while open terraces take the role of often dark hallways.
The school covers three floors and atop it are the running track and both playing fields, as expected. The school has over 10,000 sqm and offers the feeling of spaciousness despite its location in the most densely occupied part of Tiantai.
Below the conceptual phase step by step: