MKPL transforms school for the 21st Century
The Singapore International School-Hong Kong, completed in August 2011, involves the adaptive re-use and partial rebuilding of an existing urban school in the hilly terrain of Hong Kong Island – transforming a 20-year old utilitarian public school into a contemporary learning environment for the 21st Century. The site is very small (0.4Ha) and had to accommodate a school for 800 students.
One of the key challenges is to create an integrated campus, seeing the new secondary school wing as an integral part of a larger complex with its existing primary school. The extremely constrained conditions offer a unique opportunity to explore new strategies for a high-rise school in the city and the vertical stacking of program and spaces form the main thrust of the design.
The project avoids a massive structure by articulating the building as a series of smaller volumes which achieves transparency, appropriate scale and a compatible massing with the existing primary school. The new learning environment is one which is imbued with rich experiential qualities. The planning reflects an emphasis on collaborative learning and creative skills, incorporating innovative strategies to ensure optimisation of resources and spaces.
The Atrium forms the main open space introducing day-lighting and natural ventilation to the interior spaces. The ‘floating’ Sports Hall, hovering above, forms a canopy over this all-weather social space. The new facade to the existing North Block is conceived as a ‘sun-filter’, providing views out whilst cutting out unwanted heat radiation. Physical connections between the old / existing and new building, visual connections and social connections (within and beyond the school), expressing the notion of community and connectivity.