Category: Culture & Education
Principal Architect: Meng Yan, Liu Xiaodu

Project Directors: Deng Dan, Yao Xiaowei
Designers: Chen Yaoguang, Ding Yu, Chang Chen, Jiang Ling,  Wei Yan

Project Location: Dongguan, Guangdong
Project Period: 2002-2004
Project Status: Completed
Site Area: 22,000㎡
Floor Area: 49,000㎡

Client: Dongguan Polytechnic College
LDI Collaborator: China Architectural Design Consultant (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd.

Key words:courtyard ramp roof platform multifunction corridor

The new campus of Dongguan Polytechnic University is located in the newly established Songshan Lake New Town of Dongguan City – one of the fastest growing cities in south China.

The education complex occupies a sloping site bounded by the main campus plaza to the west, and a narrow lake to the east. The building extends 280 meters on a slope, and hence creates a series of interconnected courtyards of various sizes. Facing the main campus plaza to the west, the building forms a strong urban edge with public features such as open galleries, balconies, platforms, open stairs and ramps. They generate a wide range of social spaces for the students throughout the complex.

The tiered classrooms are grouped on two levels connected by open corridors and ramps that create a network of city “streets” and “plazas” at all levels. The whole building is elevated to free its ground floor in order to allow unobstructed views between the campus plaza and the lake. This layout also corresponds to the hot and humid climate by the means of bringing maximum air flow inside the building. Attached to the end of each classroom wing, a one-story-high large freestanding classroom provides a secondary roof terrace space for student activities. Similar to the ancient Chinese Gardens, the whole complex is engaged to the landscape by its terraced ground floor according to the natural contours, and by “borrowing” the views from the lake, the plaza and the surrounding buildings.

The Modern Education Center occupies a tight irregular site facing the lake. A curvilinear envelope encloses the classrooms, offices and amphitheatre, forming a semi-open inner patio. With balconies overlooking the outside landscape, gaps between the rectilinear classrooms wing and the curved outer wall become pocket patios filled with bamboo.

The education complex demonstrates how carefully organized public spaces, embellished by natural light and man-made courtyards, can still make a low-budget fast-track project shine.

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