|Project Name||Rockery for play—Poly WeDo Art Education||Posted in||Design, Interior Design||Location||
|Architecture Practice||ARCHSTUDIO||Area (sqm)||770||Client||Poly Wedo Art Educational Institution|
Located in a new gleaming development in Beijing’s Chaoyang District, Poly WeDo Art Education is the second in a series of educational institutions for children to participate in music, dance, tea, cooking and craft courses. Eschewing the multi-coloured palette and figurative iconography usually associated with such premises, Beijing-based architects Archstudio have chosen instead a playful morphology of curvilinear lines and a minimal aesthetic of crisp forms in order to create an environment of both stimulation and sophistication.
Housed in an L-shaped, second-floor space, the school’s design is centred on a meandering corridor that winds its way around convex classrooms that seem to have been scooped out. Inspired by the rock formations found in traditional Chinese gardens, the classrooms jut out, their curvilinear walls featuring semi-circular cut-outs, upturned or downturned, glazed, mirrored or bare, which allow views of the activities therein. Enfolded in the softness of a natural wood finish and enhanced by nooks that kids can squeeze into and hanging swings that they can dangle from, the circulation space is a fantastic landscape that encourages the children to explore it.
Enhancing the sensation of traversing a landscaped terrain, a white tree stands underneath an illuminated disc in the middle of the open-plan craft classroom that is ensconced in the corner space of the L-shaped plan, while the juxtaposition between the all-white interiors of the enclosed classrooms and the timber-clad corridor further heightens the sense of wonderment.
Further along, the corridor acquires a more linear, narrower layout, flanked on both sides by a series of white arches behind which private piano classrooms are housed. Designed as small caves, the white barrel-vaulted classrooms ensure the acoustic quality that the piano lessons require.
At the end of the corridor, a large dance studio abandons the introverted sensibility and the curved shapes of the other classrooms for a rectangular space that opens up to the city beyond through floor-to-ceiling glazing. A mirrored wall and an increased ceiling height, which contrary to the rest of the school does not hide the service ducts but rather assimilates them by uniformly paintings them grey, instil a sense of spaciousness further boosted by the views of the surrounding cityscape.