WSP designs a city-like campus core connecting the University to the city
Hangzhou Normal University Central Complex is located in Cangqian town of western Hangzhou, where a network of wetlands forms a unique natural landscape. The project is situated at the centre of the university-orientated town. This core location suggests that the project is a landmark as well as a connecting point of the area. To link the campus, landscape and town, the architects proceeded to make a ‘wetland college’ – integrating local forms, both natural and man-made. This is primarily done by dispersing the buildings and functions around a complex of courtyards.
The largest courtyard is surrounded by three small towers and given fuller definition by a series of lower buildings – creating a large open space for campus activities. Spatial and structural modules were used to develop the project, employing several combinations to address multiple functional needs. Each unit includes an independent entrance and circulation system to better achieve programmatic flexibility and allow many types of connections. A small courtyard or atrium is included within each unit and also between units. This series of small courts provides a network of social spaces and introduces natural light into the central portion of the buildings.
The layered skin of the building takes inspiration from jade – a stone that conveys a sense of solidity while also appearing to be translucent. WSP applied this dual quality of lightness and weight to the façade – the outer layer is clad in stone, while the inner layer is fully glazed with varying degrees of transparency. The interiors are rendered in different colours, distinguishing various functions. This helps to draw a distinction between the calm of the stone exterior and the lightness of the glass interior.