AW² completes school in Vietnam with strong visual links to its natural surroundings
This project aims at creating a complex of buildings which, through their daily use by pupils, students and teachers alike, establishes itself more as a community than just a building. Indeed, bringing together close to 1000 people means that the architects had to think of the buildings as taking an active part in social interaction. This includes the vital primary functions of a school – to provide a secure environment in which to teach and learn – but should be extended to a place for meeting others, for sharing, for social events, etc.
A design strategy favouring the integration of inside and outside spaces The buildings unwind around the patios and courtyards with single loaded external corridors distributing classrooms, offices and all other spaces. The other side of the corridor has large openings with infill timber shutters that can either be sliding or fixed in place. The overall organisation also uses the external corridors as buffers between classroom and potential source of noise, helping to create a controlled environment for the classrooms and teaching spaces.
The corridors play an essential role in the architectural form of the buildings; they emphasise the contact with the exterior and allow for an almost permanent visual contact with other parts of the school. The teaching spaces, the offices and specialist rooms are favoured in their orientation, sun exposure and noise protection. The classrooms are given the best possible exterior environment, in order to optimise the feeling of quietness, natural light and visual contact onto landscaped patios.
The buildings themselves are designed carefully with simple lines and forms, while the intricacy of the overall plan with its ins and outs, courtyards and walkways bring a very rich sense of space, light and interaction with the natural environment. They are a contemporary statement for tropical architecture, in tune with their local setting and environmentally conscious.