Yancheng Foreign Language School (YCFLS) is a newly established school by adopting an existing middle school campus. In the face of increasing enrollment, YCFLS sought to build a new learning complex and simultaneously reflect the changing philosophies and values of a modern campus.
Yancheng, literally “Salt City” in Chinese, was a major producer of salt for two millennia. Due to the high demand for waterways to transport the salt, the city is riddled with rivers and canals. One of these rivers runs through the campus, dividing it into the Teaching Zone on the south and the Dorm Zone on the north.
The school originally considered the new building somewhere else in the campus. However, we the architects proposed the site over the river to make a more integral campus experience.
The “covered bridge”, an archaic type that dates back centuries, functions both for crossing river and accommodating public activities. The Bridge Learning Center is conceived as a modern covered bridge, superimposed by a teaching building. The covered bridge provokes a sense of place and imagination to the teaching and learning activities, whereas the teaching building adds energy and pragmatism to the bridge.
The main arrival lobby of the building – the “bridgehead” – is located on the south bank of the river, facing the existing central plaza.Students and teachers take the main stair from the lobby, as if climbing “up the bridge”, and arrive at the public hall on the second floor. The building crosses the river on this level and merges with the teaching space on the north bank through a sky-lit atrium. From the second level of the atrium, you can walk “down the bridge”, through the north lobby, leading to the dorm zone.
To overcome the structural challenges imposed by the bridge’s long span, we use three sets of pretensioned concrete trusses. Located on the third level with full floor height, the trusses hang the tension columns on the second level, while the pedestrian drawbridge is hung by eight thin steel rods. From the trusses to the tension columns and then to the steel rods, the structure members become lighter towards the river, matching the transparency needs of different levels.
Against the background of today’s tremendous education reform in China, the Bridge Learning Center reflects a paradigm shiftfrom a passive and rigidsystem to a more open and diversified, but also healthier and more balanced education ecology.
As Martin Heidegger once said, “The bridge gathers the earth as landscape around the stream.” Similarly, the Bridge Learning Center offers a rare opportunity for people and nature to bond. The river is no longer a physical barrier anymore, and a free, provocative, symbiotic and modern campus starts unfolding.
Material Used :
1. Facade exterior wall paint: Nippon Paint
2. Terrace floor: wood composite flooring, Meidian
3. Exterior Windows: Aluminum alloy window, Xinyuan
4. Exterior Ceiling: Aluminum composite panel, Jingu