Architects: TEKTAO/Tongji University
Location: Jindai Town in Liangping County, Chongqing, China
Project team: Lou Yongqi, Ji Xiang, Yuval Zohar LEED AP, Ruo Chen, Ding Chan, Wu Zhen, Guo Ling, Wang Ci Yin, Lu Lian Jie, Wang Ye, Xu Hang Yu
Project area: 5,000 sqm
Photographs: Lou Yongqi, Yuval Zohar

In January 2010, the China-US Center for Sustainable Development approached TEKTAO to lead the design and construction coordination of a new sustainable school in Liangping County to replace one damaged in the 2008 earthquake. The goals outlined from the onset of the project were to build a safe, sustainable, scalable, and cost-effective school. The site chosen was a beautiful plot of terraced agriculture in the rural Jindai County, just opposite the ancient Shuang Gui Temple. After a three month design phase in collaboration with American green design experts, followed by a six week construction document period, the school was under construction for 10 months and has been completed as of April 2011. In this project, our aim was to create an exemplary school that respects and interacts with nature, culture, and community through comprehensive yet cost-efficient sustainable methods that are both vernacular and replicable. We achieve this in the form of an educational ‘playground’ with integrated communal program.

In this project, our aim was to create an exemplary school that respects and interacts with nature, culture, and community through comprehensive yet cost-efficient sustainable methods that are both vernacular and replicable. We achieve this in the form of an educational ‘playground’ with integrated communal program.

The main problem we identified was resolving the programmatic requirement of a running track while minimizing disturbance to a topographically intense site. Our design solution places the track at an optimum height that combines efficient grading with minimal support structure to create an activity platform which transitions from floor to rooftop and becomes a protective barrier for 3,000 m² in the vegetated heart of the site. By redirecting seemingly conflicting elements, the program that most threatens the site becomes its guardian. The building layout, which organizes and distributes program around the center, maximizes the students’ interaction with their environment while structurally supporting the track. The newly defined ‘skytrack’ is a response of compounded program: combining the function of a running track, playground, hallway, viewing deck, and event stage in a geometry that embraces the site and emphasizes views to the temple. The entrance is combined with a public community center as an addition to the conventional school program in order to promote interaction with the villagers.

Principle 1: Relationship with the environment - with an open mind / all day activities

The relationship between the aerial runway and the building provides a gray space in the building, which connects the building to form a corridor. The building lift up from the ground, thus natural rainwater can flows through the building and grounds, which can be purified through the wetlands and was collected in the bottom of impoundment.

Our sustainable planning focuses on low-cost, high impact conservation, recycling, and comfort strategies tailored to Liangping’s humid subtropical climate. The terraced topography naturally lends itself to constructed wetlands; the site is adapted to treat both wastewater and rainwater, creating a low-maintenance, closed-loop organic infrastructure that treats 4,800 gallons of water every day. The rainwater that falls on the buildings and the track is collected in an adjacent wetland pond. When it rains, this wetland cleans the rainwater which then cascades down several ponds to become a landscape feature that reaches all the way to the school’s entrance. In addition, dual-flush toilets help regulate water use.

Buildings are optimally oriented to capture light and prevailing winds based on analysis of the local sun path and wind rose. Solar ray studies were performed using Ecotect to determine the placement of light shelves and ceiling pitches inside the classrooms. LED lighting is used throughout the school to lower electricity usage and costs.

A passive HVAC system uses stable ground temperatures to condition the classroom buildings. The system is composed of several tubes dug 4-5 meters into the earth that are connected to the duct system in the ceiling. Fans are used to pump out and deliver air from the tubes into the classrooms to increase interior comfort and fresh air supply, thereby improving the overall air quality inside the classrooms.
Revived agriculture fields in the landscape, including a crop roof on top of the kitchen, feature endemic crop species that provide fresh ingredients (cabbage, bak choi, corn, rapeseed, and chives) for the cafeteria as well as dedicated areas for outdoor farming classrooms.

A range of reclaimed, regional, and renewable materials are used throughout: Foam insulation panels are salvaged from defunct earthquake shelters in Beichuan and incorporated into the classroom walls. Bricks and floor tiles from a demolished on-site building are reused to create the landscape ponds. Bamboo, which grows abundantly in the region, is used extensively in the exterior of classroom stairwells and on the school gate. The community center facade is composed of local stone.

The New Jindai School is deeply rooted in the surrounding context. The relationship between building and nature echoes the physical characteristics of Chongqing- known as the “mountain city”- where peaks readily invade urban fabric. Our design provides the adjacent temple with a ubiquitous viewing platform that visually integrates it throughout the campus. The structure is engineered to meet the strictest seismic codes.

Principle 1: Relationship with the environment - distributed layout / adapt to the terrain

The buildings are placed in a natural terrain towards the southern direction in order to get maximum benefit, so you can minimize the destruction of the base.
Most of the Bamboo forest reserved in the direction of southeast, It combine with a basketball court in order to create a naturally embedded playground.
The program consists of three separate nodes and a retention farmland, which create an educational agricultural campus along the terrain.

Principles 1: Relationship with the environment - Sunshine and Wind direction

The building faces the best lighting angel and avoids the self-generated shadow.
The wind blows from the northwest of the base, which determines the distribution of the function.

Principle 2: Vision - seeing

Location of Shuanggui Hall determines the location of the venue: With the mountain, a high altitude of activity playground allows a panoramic view.
Bamboo forest in the east base, which a basketball court was located in, that can reduce noise and visual disturbance, and provides a natural barrier for the stadium.

Principle 2: Vision – Being seen

The buildings follow the style of surrounding buildings; those facing Shuanggui Hall side are the traditional sloping roof.
The buildings are hidden in the plant covering environment

Principle 3: transportation and function ----entrance
The school provides the open venue of the one side of developed block to community, connecting with the social activities basis on the temple, which make the whole community more active. The school is not the ivory tower any more. The school put the entrance in the side of developed blocks to creating the Characteristics urban façade. What’s more, Entrances and exits related with teaching be placed in the street near to the classroom, which strength the safety of student.

Principle 4 : architecture located design

Principle 5 Replicability ---module architecture
Classified the module panel by different use and shapes, it can be classified into 7 modes.

Principle 5 : Replicability --- Profile improvement
Principle 6 : sustainable ------apply of technology
basic on the location of project condition, we applied the sustainable technology, which make the whole design operated effective and environmental protection as the eco-system.

principle 6: sustainability ----sustainable experience
We designed human behavior, student, local people and all walks of life will have the new sustainable experience in here.
Aerial runway
It will be high cost if we build the runway in horizontal way in the site of this project, no much than put the runway in revolving orbit way. What we consider is that we put the runway in the best altitude, which efficient combined the graded track and minimum support structure to achieve the most cost-effective solutions. Layout of the building further to the suspension of the runway, making only 18% is retained as unsupported span.

Used to achieve a simple purpose of earthquake engineering concrete support structure, which be used in the un-supported area,
In order to ensure the safety of students, aerial runway, there will be a sturdy, tall, and there is no way to climb up the mesh railing. The selected material will be protective and visual profile.
Aerial runway with a variety of functions: playground, external circulation, outdoor classroom, viewing deck, and eco-tourism pathway. The composite scheme forms of energy generation, rainwater harvesting structures, which regulates the energy and entertainment space for schools and the society.

Rosenberg , Andrew . "New Jindai Elementary School / TEKTAO" 20 May 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 07 May 2012.

Project Team:

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