With the summer holidays coming to an end, students are getting ready for a new school year. A comfortable learning environment is crucial to the development of our students, and a people-oriented school design would create a pleasant atmosphere that encourages exploration and interaction among children on the campus. This week, I will take you on a tour of the Po Leung Kuk Stanley Ho Sau Nan Primary School, another project undertaken by the Architectural Services Department (ArchSD) in the Kai Tak Development Area (KTDA), to learn more about the effort put into the project, from planning, design to completion. We will also see how architects have thought out of the box and worked hard to create an ideal campus for the students.
Unlike the traditional school buildings, the Po Leung Kuk Stanley Ho Sau Nan Primary School adopts a low-rise 4-storey design, with the basketball court “innovatively” accommodated on the first floor in the middle of the school campus, thus creating a focal point that brings students, classrooms and outdoor spaces all together. In keeping with the concept of sustainable development of the KTDA, the campus has incorporated many green elements. For example, the facades are built with fair-faced concrete to reduce the need for extra finishing materials, and vertical greening is supported by timber and metal screen panels and sunshades to lessen the electricity burden for air-conditioning and create a natural and comfortable setting for the campus.
Site-specific design approach Integration into the community
As the school is surrounded by residential blocks and highways nearby, the design team has adopted a site-specific design approach to make good use of the surrounding environment. There is a small square outside the school entrance that can be used as a waiting area for parents to pick up and drop off their children. In addition, the architects have used low fence walls instead of high walls to remove the sense of isolation of the campus from the outside. With a higher level of visual permeability, the school can integrate better into the community. Furthermore, in terms of layout, the school and its neighbouring SKH Holy Cross Primary School have been setback from the tall buildings across the road in order to create a sense of spaciousness, facilitate ventilation and help reduce the impact of road traffic noise. As the two schools are separated only by plants, this cleverly designed communal garden can serve to strengthen their connections.
Ingenious layout Connectivity between spatial areas
The Director of Architectural Services, Mrs LAM YU Ka-wai, Sylvia, pointed out that the design team had maintained close communication and interaction with the school when designing the campus in the hope of creating an ideal school environment together. I know that the campus has been built using the design concept of traditional walled villages. Colleagues told me that while a walled village has an ancestral hall and a study hall, the school has an assembly hall, a library and classrooms , all of which housed in three building blocks surrounding the ball court in the centre and linked up together using corridors, gardens and link bridges. The stairs lead to various spatial areas and connect the many functional spaces to one another. All these arrangements can shorten distances, encourage interaction and create an atmosphere of a small community within the school campus.
Substantial greening Building with heart
The greening ratio of the school reaches 30% with green terraces and roofs on various levels. On the day of our visit, several students told us that their favourite place in school is the library with its luxuriant lawn outside exuding an air of tranquility. The floor-to-ceiling glass panels at the entrance of the library are another distinctive feature, which, according to the design team, is intended to link up the indoor and outdoor spaces. This not only brings the natural landscape into the library for an enhanced sense of visual permeability and spaciousness, but also takes school activities outdoors for expanded learning spaces. Students can pick up a book and go outside to sit on the lawn, which makes their reading experience more pleasurable.
Regarding construction materials, the school uses metal frames, timber screen panels and steel fences to create a variety of spatial areas with different levels of visual permeability. Large-sized floor-to-ceiling glass panels are used for classroom windows on all floors to let in more daylight and increase the sense of spaciousness. Green plants such as bamboo are specially planted outside some classroom windows not only to function as screens and provide shelter from the scorching sun, but also, according to the school principal, Ms KAM Yim-mui, to create a serene, relaxed and cultural environment on the campus to help cultivate students’ moral character.
In the new school year, I hope students will enjoy their campus life while at the same time appreciate the creativity and effort that our design team and the school have put into the campus, the classrooms, the corridors and the hall. When the opportunity arises, I would like to introduce to you more outstanding projects of the ArchSD and share with you the fruits of our colleagues’ hard work.
2 September, 2018Back