In designing the new Chu Hai College, the team at Rocco Design Architects found themselves looking to the compact urban condition of Hong Kong itself for inspiration.
The campus’ spatial organisation maximises density by stacking multiple slab blocks of different programs vertically on top of each other over a podium housing communal facilities, including a number of lecture theatres and a gymnasium. A folded vertical Student Boulevard rises to form a three-dimensional street network in the air that weaves and binds the different blocks and levels into a connected whole. From the Boulevard, students can gain free access to a series of sky gardens and roof decks of various scales on different levels, all afforded with stunning sea views.
The footprints of the buildings are restricted to the existing foundations to minimise unnecessary modification to the foundations themselves. Programs requiring larger footprints such as the classrooms and libraries cantilever out from the main slab blocks to make up for the required floor area.
Architecturally, the library and the student union are remodeled as bridges that connect the east and west slab blocks to form an iconic gateway. The classrooms on the upper floors are tapered outwards, creating a sloping wall that redirects sunlight to the interior corridor while allowing natural ventilation to reach the lower levels.
Formally, the cantilevers and bridges extending from the slab blocks are meant to resemble a tree crown, offering the imagery of a primitive learning space under the shade of a very large green canopy.
The project is set to be completed in 2016.
Rocco Design Architects