Zhang Jia Yuan Elementary School, Baoji, Shaanxi

Baoji, China
Project Description

EHDD Architecture is honored to have been a part of Rosalyn Koo and the 1990 Institute's project for school reconstruction in Shaanxi Province after the earthquake in 2008. Working with the Northwest Design Institute, as well as Dien Tseng Architects, in Baoji, Shaanxi Province, EHDD, and its team of California-based sustainability experts led by Jennifer Devlin, AIA, designed a green school campus. Drawing upon its knowledge of California earthquake safety codes along with innovative sustainability concept, EHDD and its team designed a campus which rebuilt and brought together the schools of three villages.

Using the courtyard house as typology, the green school is designed around a series of courtyards. A multi-use gathering room and library as well as teacher offices and dorms flank an entry court - the most ceremonial of three courtyards. Four classrooms buildings (12 classrooms total) frame two successive courtyards that lead to a play field. The courts are designed for teaching, with plantings designed to demonstrate the changing of seasons, to flower throughout the growing seasons in this very dry, arid climate. Since nutrition is one of the greatest deterrents in education in these rural areas, and since the region is primarily agriculturally based, vegetable gardens capture the local cultivation of mulberry trees and corn among other crops.

The buildings are designed as a contemporary reflection of traditional Chinese rural building form: swooping sloped roofs are punctuated with reserve clerestory windows to offer balanced daylight in the classrooms. Local masonry, clay tile roofs within a concrete frame form the exterior of this one-story complex - the classrooms are finished with insulated plaster on the interior maximizing thermal comfort and daylight reflection. Photovoltaic panel infrastructure is integrated into the roofs in anticipation of future solar panel installation, offsetting the little electricity requirements of the school.