With only 2,000 years of history, architecture pales in comparison to craftsmanship or “genius loci”. We are born with the ability to perceive space. We are more aware of place than architecture. Spatial experience is universal. We can experience, communicate, and celebrate civilizations through physical locations, tectonics, and structure. To realize genius loci, architecture evolved over time in response to local environment. The result can reflect a society’s value, government system, and technical level.
Learning and Breathing: A Mountainside Elementary School
The site for the elementary school with an irregular form is sloped at approximately 250 meters in length. With abundant natural resources, the school aims to recover the intuitive relationship between human and nature. This simple concept directs architecture and technology into a deeper conversation with the environment.
Buildings scatter organically on the site. Learning and public spaces are formed through cracked, ambiguous and layered zones. Educators can design learning activities freely. And importantly, life and nature can coexist on campus, allowing students to refocus their attention to nature around them.
Natural and Tectonic Realization
The roof of the 14m high indoor stadium is a truss system composed of 60-centimeter deep timber beams, 20 centimeters round steel tubes, and 12 millimeters pre-stressed steel cables. Timber and lightweight steel fit well with the environment, reducing the visual presence of the roof structure and minimize visual impact to the surroundings. Furthermore, the light structure enhances our views to the forest and sky. Timber structure is also used on the roof of the pool area. The roof structure is designed in overlapping geometric forms to emphasize structural tension and to provide a comfortable environment.
The steel bridge connecting the north and south campuses is designed with tilted steel pillars to integrate with the landscape and curved along the running tracks. The bridge divides greenery and nature to one side and school activities on the other.
On the second floor of the stadium, the facade is covered with curved glassed partitions. Children inside can observe nature and treetops through this lightweight structure.
On the first floor, solid foundations hold the glass box. Composed by a mixture of 45*95mm face tiles and 5% glazed tiles, the facade blends into the environment. Glazed tiles reflect different levels of colors and brightness over time. This design enriches architectural and visual experiences, so people can observe time through materials.