The best things come in small (triangular) packages at United Christian College
This humble 5,000 m2 school extension project demonstrates the creative potential in integrating a wide spectrum of functions with quality of spaces, light, air and greenery within a tight triangular site. It aspires to create 'a different sky for learning' with emphasis on environmentally responsible lifestyle – a 'life shaping project' for enlightening students to live for a lighter footprint.
The brief asks for dormitory accommodations of 80 students, canteen, gym room, chapel, activity rooms, basketball court and indoor swimming pool. To fulfill this ambitious requirement in a small basketball-court site, an ensemble of courtyards and low-rise blocks comprising of chapel, gym room and indoor swimming pool with the basketball court on top is created to unite the high dormitory tower and the existing school building. As a result, a multitude of intertwining indoor and outdoor space at grade and in the sky is created for study and sports as well as prayer and play. Besides, communal spaces are designed to serve as extension of the formal functions, thus enabling a spontaneous experience of learning: from individuality to collectivity, introspection to sharing.
Specific for Hong Kong's humid sub-tropical climate, the facilities are designed towards high performance and low carbon, through optimal integration of different natural ventilation strategies. Choice of material also emphasises on simple living with less material usage and less waste generation. The design was developed with feedback from the school's headmaster, teachers and students, bringing sustainability into the forefront of design decisions and turning it into a key concern for the eventual end users of the project. The product becomes a valuable curriculum resource, as it allows students to live and experience how the cycle of resources are restored in a loop — for fostering a worldview of low carbon living.