The New Era Civilization Practice Education Base is a national model training institute located in the West New District of Zhangjiagang, Suzhou City, PRC. China. The Project has been designed and constructed in a manner that applies contemporary architectural language and teaching methods in telling a story of rising urban civilization underpinned by South-China culture.
The construction of the Educational Base is approximately 34,000 m2 and includes a modern educational center, a 300-bed hotel and an integrated logistic supporting building.
The three functional units are linked jointly by a corridor with an open large lawn, a semi-enclosed hotel arrival area and an inward water courtyard.
For accommodating daily activities, the Education Center is located in the eastern riverfront and lush area with a wide view and a full range of functions. It is equipped with several classrooms for 20-100 students, reading rooms and a 250-person lecture hall, providing a diverse teaching and learning environment.
The entire Base boasts intelligent facilities, emphasizing the interaction and sharing of data, and deeply integrating information technology and subject education for digital teaching and learning.
The Education Center is designed with a strong openness, ranging from classroom lectures to field research and case studies. Moreover, it encourages discussion and interaction between students and teachers.
The space outside of classrooms are concerned with more weights, the wide corridors, raised platforms, and the sky garden could be found at every corner. All of these designs inspire students and teachers to stay and have dialogues. In a sense, this space integrates to be a part of the open teaching system. The atrium is square, open and bright, with a diagonal staircase running through both floors. Hence, it is convenient for take an access, to sit, to have gathering events, even to hold tea breaks, lectures or small performances.
The top arrayed and curved skylights outlines the light and shadow, responding reciprocally in rhythm. You could sense it is on tiptoes, moving slowly without stop. The activities and events held at the atrium are rendered and soaked in this overlapping light and shadow.
The corridor and the courtyard, common architectural elements in the southern Jiangsu region, have been inherited and borrowed as the principal idea for designing public space of the Quadrangle.
The long corridor is open and bright, with roundabouts and turns, connecting the hotel, the complex and the Education Center one after another, contributes to the main pedestrian flow routes. Owing to the frequent outings for the course provided, the tour bus has been arranged at the east end of the corridor, close to the classrooms and convenient for access.
The quadrangle is often matched with a corridor, and it zooms in and out of the side-view of the corridor. On the other hand, it accommodates for having a rest.
The boundless pool, coarse stone, elongated oblique shadows, and standing fair-faced concrete walls are calm and stable, exuding a rich cultural atmosphere. This public cultural square turns to be a ideal place, where students walk through, wait, and communicate.
Moreover, the digital tools allow for greater flexibility in teaching and learning, so that case studies and discussions can be held on an ongoing basis at any corner. of this quadrangle. As a result, the quadrangle shifts to a community. Since then, there are no more boundaries inside or outside the classroom, and the online and offline are integrated into a complete system.
In accordance with the regional planning, the established Education Base is only the first phrase of the project, while the second phase with a cultural center and a sports center has already started building. When completed, it will be a new lifestyle centre with a mix of commercial, sports, cultural and creative activities.
Connecting the first and second phases of the Project is a 60m wide public landscaped strip, bringing 13,000m2 of open activity space for the residents.
In terms of landscape facilities, there is a hidden playground for children in the trees, where they can run around. Up the slope, it has designed for several tennis and basketball courts, you could imagine such scenarios as boys are arguing about the defensive stand they just made; young mothers are leaning on the big steps, basking in the beautiful sunset and waiting for their daughters to finish their dance classes.
This vivid and picturesque life you may quite familiar with, and it directly denotes a city’s civilization.
When you stand in the corridor of the Education Center, the two metre height elevation allows you to have an objective overlooking view. The life comes to you as you are emerging into the daily city activities and events of the students, green spaces and squares, industrial heritage and modern business, physical fitness and cultural performance. The project is a perfect illustration of city building in a new era, a teaching site at its best.