Lin’an Valley of the Wind School is located on an open site among the grassy hills in Lin’an District, outside the City of Hangzhou, with the goal of creating a basecamp of outdoor activities for the young students. The site is in the vicinity of large area of beautiful green belts and common open spaces. The north of the site sits on hills, with a local road planned around the south to the west.
The vicinity of the site is mostly undeveloped lands in their original natural forms, but the permitted site area is also extremely limited, at only 2,804 square meters. Therefore, to fulfill all the program and function requirements, the floor area ratio must be close to 2.0, which significantly exceeds the standard 0.8 FAR of typical school building complex and becomes the major challenge in the design of this project.
Based off the comprehensive concept of “school in the nature”,the form of this school building architecture should be an existence that can both unify large area of outdoor space in entirety and fully reflect the spirits of youth and outdoor sports. Therefore, we take the paper plane which can carry the dreams and ambitions of the young students as inspiration of the building form, “releasing” the architecture into the air like a paper plane being released by the students. By connecting the visual image with the imagination of the space, the design aims to arouse the young students’ motivations so that they can truly “release their dreams and grow with happiness” while at school.
On top of the inspirational image of “paper plane”, with consideration of specific requirements in function, circulation, regulation, and materials, etc., the design team further interprets the concept into tangible operations of dividing and moving building volumes, making the school both a series of useful physical spaces and a carrier of culture at the same time.
Rooftops of the building volumes vary naturally in height and are arranged well in order. The folded roofs also interact with the contours of the hills in the background and bring the best image out of each other. The building facades have a rich range of variances, and achieve complementary effects out of contrasts between the white and natural wood colors as well as between the vertical grills and the transparent glasses.
Existing site conditions, paths of circulation, and vigor of the young students have all been thoroughly considered in the landscape design, turning the site into a diverse landscape field that combines sight-seeing, relaxing, communication, and sports altogether. The landscape carries through the features of the rooftops and speak in full concert with the architecture design, enabling the two to merge together smoothly.
The project will be completed and put into use in the near future.
Guowei Zhang received his bachelor's degree in architecture from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and his master's degree from both Harvard and MIT. I once served as the Chairman of ChinaGSD of Harvard Student Union, and organized and led Harvard's China trip to participate in several large-scale "SinoUS City and Architecture Forum" and served as a guest. He is currently the founder and principal architect of GWP Architects. He was elected as a director of Harvard University South China Alumni Association in 2017, and was elected as one of the top ten Chinese design elites in 2018. He later served as the DEC co-founder of the Huaying Association and the DEC Youth of the Huaying Association. Chairman of Design Development Plan, elected as Vice Chairman of Shenzhen Industry Alliance in 2021.