To me, it’s always great seeing new schools popping up. A new school usually means a beautiful environment that cultivates knowledge, culture, physical fitness, art and ethics for its students. This is the TianTai No.2 Primary School, which strives for a unique design that will serve as a model school for elementary school children. The project also solves China’s key problem with building new, large structures; a shortage of land in an old city. Kudos to LYCS Architecture!
Besides the embedded parking garage, the most visible element that demonstrates the space-saving design strategy of the school, is the 200m running track placed on the roof level, that would have used roughly 40% of the land if it was simply placed on the ground as your average playground — thus creating a very cramped campus. Simultaneously, the design ensures that the students still have a playground at the same level, as this design provides an additional 3000+ square meters of usable ground area and the oval shape of the main school building. That same oval design creates a sense of inwardness, inclusion, community and security for the vast number of students.
The running track’s location on the roof allows for a height total of 4 floors in the building rather than the 5 levels that were originally intended and required. This decrease in the number of levels allows the school building to create a more harmonious visual relationship between itself and the surrounding and existing urban context. The school’s site design — in which the building is rotated approximately 15 degrees — also allows for a more available green courtyard spaces by creating smaller pockets of space between the site wall and the exterior building envelope.
Back to the school’s main feature; the rooftop track has 3-layered custom safety guardrails creation installed to protect the students (you know, because they’re elementary children, notorious for their curiosity). the guardrails consist of an exterior layer of 1.8m high tempered glass wall, a middle layer of 50cm wide green belt, and an interior layer of 1.2m high stainless steel guardrail. In order to resolve and noise issues, a spring cushions is placed at every 50x 50cm point under the plastic track, resulting in the reduction of additional kinetic noise through a double-layer structure.