As a result of its international expertise in education design - including projects for the leading universities such as Oxford and Cambridge as well as Princeton and Yale in the USA – the UK architects was appointed by the Suzhou Industrial Park Education Development Investment Co. Ltd to design a campus to house advanced teaching facilities for undergraduates, graduates and incubation units to help graduates become entrepreneurs.
The province of Jiangsu, in which Suzhou is located, has the largest number of higher education institutions in the country with 105 universities and colleges and an annual enrolment of around a million students. The Public Academy is RMJM's first full higher education campus in China and the first project to come out of its Global Education Studio, launched last year.
Peter Morrison, RMJM’s Chief Executive, said: “Over the last year or so, we have restructured our business by pooling the talent of our international experts in the growth areas of education, health, science and transportation. This strategy is clearly paying off and this is a big win for our specialist education team. It’s also a very exciting project for us to work on as the Public Academy will uncover China’s next generation of entrepreneurs and enhance Suzhou’s economic and educational reputation.”
The client’s brief called for an academy located in the higher education district of Suzhou, within the city’s successful industrial park that aims to be a leader in technology and R&D for high-tech industries. The 120,000 sq m campus design is contemporary, whilst also in keeping with the physical environment and social culture of Suzhou, which is celebrated for its meticulously designed walled gardens, canal-ordered townscape and traditional visual and literary arts.
The campus, which is expected to be completed in 2012, will also offer sporting and recreation facilities for the wider community, including public gardens.