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Minzhi School in Shenzhen

Terraced Campus with Twin Hills

General Information

Project Type
Project location
Shenzhen, Guangdong, China
Completion Year
Gross Built Area
Lead Architect
Yunchao Xu
Design Team
Hongrui Liu, Jiachuan Qi, Tianxiong Li, Shengjie Zhang, Jianxuan Chen
Bureau of Public Works of Longhua District, Minzhi School
Photo credits
Atelier Apeiron

The renovation and expansion of Minzhi School was a challenging project. The site is located on a narrow, irregular polygonal plot of in the central area of Longhua District in Shenzhen. The old campus was in a crowded urban context, with the west side surrounded by high-density urban villages, and the east side blocked by a main road. Taking inspiration from mountains and caves in nature, we used modular domino construction logic to create an organic terraced campus. In the new campus, children grow up in a vibrant micro town, rather than just studying in classrooms of a school.

Due to the very limited site area of less than 10,000 ㎡, the traditional layout with a teaching block cannot accommodate 48 classes. So, we converted the entire campus into a giant chessboard with a grid of 10m x 10m in the beginning, to ensure the most economical use of space. At the same time, following the logic of the game GO, dedicated " Liberty points" are arranged in the plane grid to create a continuous flow of public space. It is this "tic-tac-toe"-style network that connects various characteristic units into an open community as the architectural foundation for upper Lego bricks.

The vertical dimension of the campus is organized as twin hills with a valley. Outside each classroom, there is a terrace of 10m x 10m. These platforms are merged into a continuous playground through zig zag stairs. To introduce natural light and fresh air into the building, we designed lots of "void" places, such as caves, tunnels and holes inside the hills. The interior and exterior are connected to form a series of "Spatial Loops", offering infinite possibilities for the future of the school in art exhibitions, performances, sporting events, and even rock climbing.