A research team led by Prof. Zhu Jingxiang of the School of Architecture at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) has developed an advanced architectural system for the construction of the New Bud Study Hall in Sichuan this summer, based on the experience of building the first New Bud Primary School at Xiasi village in Sichuan’s Jiange County, which can be read about here. The new Study Hall is built to outperform the first New Bud Primary school in energy efficiency and space design, while retaining critical distinguishing features of the first school, such as earthquake resistance, durability and a short construction time of only two weeks. The new Study Hall is located in a remote minority village, Dazu, a hilly region of an altitude of 2,600 m on the border of Sichuan Province.
More on this project after the break.
Professor Zhu and his team of thirty, comprised of mainland and Hong Kong university students, and architects, were supported by Hong Kong Drago Culture Charity Fund and the CUHK New Asia Sichuan Redevelopment fund as an ecological school prototype with innovative building technologies. The project was developed after the 5.12 Wenchuan Earthquake.
The Study Hall adopts a light composite structure system, with earthquake resistance reaching Mercalli Intensity Scale X. The building is built with a life span of over 20 years and is built with fire-proof, and weather-resistant materials. Over 90% of the components in the building system are prefabricated in factories, reducing the time taken to assemble the super-structure to only 14 days. The low construction cost makes the system an ideas options for areas that require hasty reconstruction or in areas threatening by natural disasters.
The building envelope is composed of 8 cm thick thermal insulation to resist cold weather, while vents are well-positioned to create a stack effect in order to cool the space in the summer and warm it in the winter. The LED lights installed in the Study Hall are powered by a wind turbine, keeping total energy consumption from lighting as low as 1.2 kw. Extra space is also reserved to install a solar ground heating system.
The design is a compact single-storey building housing three classrooms and a reading space, without wasting the precise 260 sq. meter space on corridors. Each room has distinct proportions and orientation in order to give its users a clear sense of location when inside. The classrooms are divided by translucent partition walls without keep out noise but allow light to enter. The Study Hall is abundant in scenic views of the nearby Lugu Lake and the village fabric. A simple timber-trellis cladding design allows the Study Hall to fit into the vernacular of the village while reducing the consumption of the raw timber required to build such a space.
The project has been in operation since September 1st and has since been in operation allowing students from the village and nearby villages complete their six-year primary school education. This ecological school prototype integrates an innovative structural system, construction and environmental technologies with compact spatial organizations, thereby drastically raising the building’s overall performance. In conjunction with Professor Zhu, other collaborators in this meaningful project are professional consultant Mr. Nelson Tam Sin-lung, PhD student Mr. Xia Heng and engineers from different manufacturers.