Model for a college education

James Forryan
Tuesday 03 Mar 2009

Jenga-inspired building is welcome addition to Hong Kong Community College

This project is a re-interpretation of high-rise campus in newly-developed West Kowloon, Hong Kong. It resembles the materials in current use at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, giving the students a new identity of the University.

In order to maximise the teaching and communal space, the building mass is decomposed into two twin towers and tectonically linked together by bridges forming podiums. The required total floor plate area divided by floors makes each floor plate too large and might induce a strange proportion. The too-large floor plate also hinders the daylight penetration and air ventilation. The architects separated it and created a twin-towers approach, which provides better cross ventilation and more efficient floor plate usage. The central connecting structures enable better linkage for communal spaces. The twin towers and the connecting structures are carefully articulated to maintain solidity and transparency. "Red-brick" tile is adopted for the solid twin towers while aluminium cladding with glass wall are employed for the transparent connecting bridge structures.

For the sake of sustainability and flexibility, the building design encourages embracing natural environment and use of environmentally-friendly materials. Innovative building technologies are used in the design in close collaboration with academics from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in order for the building to achieve energy efficiency and a healthy community. The design enriches also city ventilation by incorporation of sky gardens.

The design has enhanced the education process by encouraging semi-outdoor teaching. The sky gardens and podium gardens provide plenty of semi-outdoor teaching spaces for discussions and interactions between teachers and students. Also, the corridors provide communal spaces for informal gatherings and discussions among students. All these make the campus an ideal environment for teaching and learning.

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