Mediating between the past and the future, the design for a new school and kindergarten at the heart of a tall, built-up urban quarter in Haikou on the north coast of Hainan reflects the more intimate scale of the houtong—a historic typology of Chinese village—as an ensemble of individual schoolbuildings to strengthen the schoolchildren’s identification with their individual learning clusters and their sense of belonging to an overarching community of education and growth.
A striking folded roofscape unites eight learning clusters, each with its own garden, in addition to a ninth garden serving as the campus sports and recreation area. The strong form binds the clusters with a singular expression and as a coherent whole, within which the school and kindergarten are spatially independent of each other and can be organized separately. Each of the gardens are individually designed according to the specific age range and appropriate needs the students in the classrooms that surround it.
With an approach that is adapted to Hainan’s warm tropical climate, the architecture of the campus establishes a playful yet functional „inside-out” learning landscape, wherein the gardens serve as natural extensions of enclosed spaces. Each classroom has a direct spatial connection to one of the gardens, offering room for dynamic teaching formats and facilitating academic and social enrichment rain or shine. A covered gallery organizes the circulation between learning clusters, allowing pleasant fresh marine breezes to permeate the campus and complement the daily movements and routines.