Shenzhen Nanshan Foreign Language School

Shenzhen Nanshan Foreign Language School, Modern Chinese Architecture, China, Photos

June 15, 2022

Architects: Studio Link-Arc, LLC

Location: Shenzhen, China

Shenzhen Nanshan Foreign Language School

Photos: Shengliang Su

Shenzhen Nanshan Foreign Language School, China

The Nanshan Foreign Language School (NFLS) is a 54,000 m² elementary and middle school campus that includes regular and special classrooms, a library, a gymnasium, an indoor swimming pool, an auditorium and a teachers’ dormitory, as well as dining halls and dedicated playgrounds. Located in the Nanshan district of Shenzhen, the NFLS campus represents the final piece of a decade-long redevelopment process that has seen a condensed urban village transformed into a contemporary vertical city. Surrounded by high density residential development and commercial towers, the main challenge of the project was to regenerate an urban condition shattered by contemporary development.

Strategy I: horizontal or vertical
Connections to nature encourage creativity and foster new ways of thinking. One of the main goals of the project was to create an intimate teaching environment that would connect students to the natural world beyond the site. The dense verticality of the neighborhood surrounding the site made this goal even more pressing – the desire to create opportunities for students and teachers to interact with nature is a driving force behind the design, leading the design team to create a horizontal, low-density school.

Shenzhen Nanshan Foreign Language School

The NFLS campus is designed as a vast horizontal garden that contrasts with the dense, vertical urban environment it serves. The school intentionally breaks down the distinction between building and open space to create a linear hybrid that includes enclosed spaces, semi-enclosed areas and open green spaces. This low-rise composition allows the school to create an open oasis within a densely populated residential community that allows students to move seamlessly between indoors and outdoors. This allows the school to create vibrant campus life and reconnect with nature within the site.

Shenzhen Nanshan Foreign Language School Nanshan Foreign Language School Shenzhen China

The project site has a natural slope. The southeast corner is low and rises to the northwest. Link-Arc’s design works within existing topography. Larger program volumes (gymnasium, swimming pools, canteens and auditorium) are tucked into the slope. These volumes create terraced platforms above which form a new floor plan dedicated to educational spaces and play areas. This makes it possible to arrange the educational spaces in a linear way, without it being necessary to arrange the building vertically.

Shenzhen Nanshan Foreign Language School

Strategy II: Intertwine the Garden
The linear nature of the educational volumes creates many architectural possibilities. These volumes meander through the site, dividing seamlessly to create six unique courtyards, serving as semi-private enclaves for teaching and play. Each courtyard has a unique title: Entrance Courtyard, Assembly Courtyard, Primary school yard, middle school yard, sports yard and recreation yard. Each open space is designed with a spatial theme and architectural strategy suited to its intended use. The continuous ceiling above the ground floor is painted orange, unifying the open spaces of the campus and creating a sheltered public area that provides access to all areas of the project, responding to Shenzhen’s rainy climate.

Shenzhen Nanshan Foreign Language School Shenzhen Nanshan Foreign Language School

In order to further connect the educational spaces to the outdoors, the linear classroom bars are staggered in sections. This creates outdoor terraces that serve as main circulation corridors and also ensures that all teaching spaces have access to sunlight and views. The sinuous movement of the classroom ribbons generates a series of interconnected outdoor spaces that are adapted to the needs of each teaching area. The elongated courses of the specialized school and the college are transformed into closed and protected courses for the primary school and the library, or conversely, open onto vast grounds intended for physical activities.

Strategy III: Thin sections/Ecological innovation
The NFLS project intentionally breaks with conventional school design principles that typically divide a site into buildings and functional areas, opting instead for a sectional organization that maximizes access to light and views for each classroom. This strategy allows for multiple section variations and creates various spatial conditions for recreation, interaction and education.

Shenzhen Nanshan Foreign Language School

Link-Arc conducted numerous design studies to optimize the building’s response to Shenzhen’s hot and humid climate. The staggered organization of the bars in the classroom allows each room access to light, while the layout of the single-load classroom promotes natural ventilation. The treatment of the building facade also serves to maximize the climate response of the building. The north facades are defined by high performance glass and operable windows. East-facing facades feature architectural shading devices that minimize solar heat gain. The south and west facing areas incorporate shading elements and perforated aluminum screens.

Shenzhen Nanshan Foreign Language School

To mitigate stormwater runoff, public areas of the building are paved with permeable brick, while the roofs are planted with sedum (this has the added effect of minimizing heat gain on the roof). Rooftop solar panels provide up to 2,000 MWh of clean energy per year. Thanks to these design and technology strategies, the NFLS project was the first compulsory school project in southern China to receive the GBEL Three Star Label certification.

Shenzhen Nanshan Foreign Language School

Nanshan Foreign Language School in Shenzhen, China – Building Information

Design: Studio Link-Arc, LLC –

Project duration: 2014-2018
Building area: 54,200 m²
Client: China Resources Land, Ltd.
Chief architect: Yichen Lu
Chief interior designer: Yichen Lu
Project Manager: Razvan Voroneanu, Chunqi Fang, Shiqi Li, Wen Zhu
Project team: Hyunjoo Lee, Dongyul Kim, Kenneth Namkung, Hyungsun Choi, Ching-Tsung Huang, Yihong Deng, Yoko Fujita, Simeng Qin, Qingyue Gao, Viviana Wang, Mariarosa Doardo, Jialin Yuan, Wenyun Qian, Xinhui Wen

Designated Architect and Engineer: Guangdong Province Institute of Architectural Design and Research
Interior construction document: Shenzhen Ruihe Decoration Engineering Co., Ltd.
Landscaper: Lab D+H
Designated Landscape Architect: Shenzhen Landscape
Structural Consultant: Yoshinori Nito Engineering & Design PC
Curtain wall consultant: EFC Engineering
Lighting Consultant: Ning Field Lighting Design
Green Building Consultant: Shenzhen Building Research Institute
Construction Manager: Yuanda International Engineering Management Consult Co., LTD
General contractor: China Resources Construction Corp.

About Studio Link-Arc, LLC
Based in New York, Studio Link-Arc, LLC comprises an international team of architects and designers. Link-Arc refers to the collaborative nature of the firm, as well as its mission, which is to work across disciplines to create strategy and design in the fields of urban planning, architecture, space and landscape art. The studio accomplishes this by connecting knowledge, resources and intelligence from multiple perspectives and diverse backgrounds.

The company’s body of work includes innovative projects of all scales. The relationship between architecture and context is seen as an opportunity to create a new context and a new nature and understanding of the world. Through research, Studio Link-Arc uncovers the essential truths unique to each project and uses those truths to create concepts and shape form. They strive to create exquisite works of architecture and create spaces that encourage contemplation and imagination, while providing quiet satisfaction through the simple act of occupying.

Shenzhen Nanshan Foreign Language School

Photography: Shengliang Su

Pictures/information from Shenzhen Nanshan Foreign Language School received 150622 from v2com newswire

Location: Shenzhen, China

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