Shenzhen Nanshan Foreign Language School / Link-Arc Studio

Shenzhen Nanshan Foreign Language School / Link-Arc Studio

Elementary school yard.  Image © Shengliang SuCampus courtyard in an urban context.  Image © Shengliang SuPrimary school and urban context.  Image © Shengliang SuMiddle school campus entrance staircase.  Image © Shengliang Su+ 51

Aerial view of the East Campus and nearby towers.  Image © Shengliang Su
Aerial view of the East Campus and nearby towers. Image © Shengliang Su

Text description provided by the architects. Shenzhen Nanshan School of Foreign Languages ​​(NSFL School) is a 54,000 sqm primary and secondary school campus that features a comprehensive curriculum including: regular and special classrooms, library, gymnasium, indoor swimming pool , an auditorium, a dormitory, as well as dining rooms and dedicated rooms. playgrounds.

Aerial view at dusk.  Image © Shengliang Su
Aerial view at dusk. Image © Shengliang Su

Located in the DaChong district of Shenzhen, the NSFL campus represents the latest element of a decade-long development, during which the area has transformed from an industrial periphery into a contemporary vertical city.

View from the playground.  Image © Shengliang Su
View from the playground. Image © Shengliang Su

Surrounded by tall, dense residential towers, the campus takes up the challenge of reconstructing a fragmented urban context resulting from a too rapid urbanization process endemic to the modern world. The design of the NSFL campus addresses these challenges through a multi-pronged strategy.

density analysis
density analysis

STRATEGY 1: HORIZONTALITY AND VERTICALITY
The design began with our original intention to create a natural, open environment for students that stimulates creativity and innovation.

Aerial view to the east.  Image © Shengliang Su
Aerial view to the east. Image © Shengliang Su
Horizontality Vs. Verticality
Horizontality Vs. Verticality

The NSFL campus is designed as a large horizontal garden that contrasts with the dense, vertical urban environment it serves. The design breaks the distinction between “building” and “open space” in favor of a linear, low-rise hybrid of enclosed, semi-enclosed and open green spaces.

study model
study model

The design creates an open oasis for students and faculty in a high density neighborhood and recreates a lost connection between humanity and nature.

Campus courtyard in an urban context.  Image © Shengliang Su
Campus courtyard in an urban context. Image © Shengliang Su
corner of campus.  Image © Roland Halbe
corner of campus. Image © Roland Halbe

STRATEGY 2: THE WOVEN GARDEN
The classrooms are arranged in winding ribbons that create six interconnected open spaces adapted to the specific needs of each teaching area.

wooded courtyard.  Image © Roland Halbe
wooded courtyard. Image © Roland Halbe

The six open spaces are differentiated as follows: an entrance courtyard; a ceremonial courtyard; the elementary school yard, the middle school yard; a Sports Court and a Banyan Court. Each public space is linked to one of the main programmatic divisions of the school.

College courtyard.  Image © Shengliang Su
College courtyard. Image © Shengliang Su
Middle school campus entrance staircase.  Image © Shengliang Su
Middle school campus entrance staircase. Image © Shengliang Su

Classrooms are staggered in section to allow maximum access to natural light and views and are laid out in plan to maximize access to sunlight. The elongated open spaces resulting from the linear ribbon layout are differentiated according to program needs. The open public spaces associated with specialized schools and colleges are divided into closed and protected courtyards.

Ground floor showroom skylight.  Image © Shengliang Su
Ground floor showroom skylight. Image © Shengliang Su
Campus public space.  Image © Shengliang Su
Campus public space. Image © Shengliang Su

Adjacent to the primary school and the library, the outdoor spaces open onto vast grounds conducive to physical activity. All classes are connected by a covered public path marked with a warm orange ceiling above the ground floor which allows students access to any part of the campus.

Primary school yard.  Image © Shengliang Su
Elementary school yard. Image © Shengliang Su
Elementary yard.  Image © Shengliang Su
Elementary yard. Image © Shengliang Su

STRATEGY 3: AN OVERALL DESIGN STRATEGY
The NSFL school intentionally breaks with conventional school design strategies (which would divide the campus into “buildings” and “public spaces” in favor of a sectional organization that maximizes access to green space and daylight. This allows for multiple sectional variations that enable the creation of spaces optimized for play, education and interaction This sectional strategy also allows the design to carefully respond to different local environmental conditions.

study model
study model

The design of the school also takes advantage of the natural slope of the site. Larger program volumes including: the sports hall, swimming pool, dining areas and auditorium are buried in the earth, creating terraced platforms to match the existing topography of the site. These terraces form a new ground on which are grafted educational spaces and public spaces. Programs located above the new ground enjoy access to natural light and are easily accessible as their public entrances are located above the terraced ground plane.

View of the swimming pool.  Image © Shengliang Su
View of the swimming pool. Image © Shengliang Su
View of the basketball court.  Image © Shengliang Su
View of the basketball court. Image © Shengliang Su

The architectural experience of the school is enhanced through a comprehensive strategy that extends the design to all other aspects of the final building including: interior design, landscape design and wayfinding strategy. The landscape architecture and planting strategy for each of the interconnecting courtyards is designed to enhance the broader architectural and programmatic scheme. The orientation strategy merges with the architecture via a system of color zones that allow the larger programs of the building to be experienced and visually understood and are integrated with the necessary signaling elements. In other words, the larger architectural strategies are integrated with all other aspects of the design and are carried out in every possible detail.

Shaded public space.  Image © Shengliang Su
Shaded public space. Image © Shengliang Su

To strengthen the connection between the building and its surroundings, the NSFL school design incorporates a comprehensive sustainable design strategy including natural ventilation and daylighting strategies that minimize energy consumption and respond to the hot and humid climate. from Shenzhen. A series of overhangs; shade frames and perforated aluminum shade panels minimize heat transfer to interior and public spaces while allowing generous natural light. Confirmed by a numerical solar radiation study, the daylighting strategy helped NSFL become the first comprehensive school with a LEED platinum rating in southern China.

courtyard of the primary school on the east side.  Image © Roland Halbe
courtyard of the primary school on the east side. Image © Roland Halbe