International School in Shenzhen

  • Client:

    European Education Community of Shenzhen

  • When:


  • Where:

    Shenzhen, China

  • Scope:


  • Size:

    86530 km²

  • Cost:


This project for the new European Education Community of Shenzhen near Hong Kong, consists of an ensemble of buildings which form three areas; a living area, a study area and a night area. The site is located on a hill facing the sea, with a sub-tropical oceanic climate and with a large variation of ground elevations, ranging from 20m to 150m The design takes the landscape topology and local climate as a basis for the conception.

A key consideration for this site is the flow of rainwater, which shapes the landscape. Rainwater is collected in a series of ponds and drained through some simple aqueducts, being recycled back into the water system along with purified grey water. Purification is carried out in anaerobic basins, followed by aerobic treatment with plants and gravel filter beds, and finally solar exposition. The complete process is clearly visible and easily understandable for children, providing an educational experience for the next generation.

The architecture follows the topology of this newly formed hill landscape, with a rhythmic composition of vertical laminated wood elements. In the outdoor spaces between the architecture one can find children’s playgrounds, vegetable gardens, orchards, water basins and sports areas.

Energy and a bioclimatic strategy are core elements of the design. The architecture uses shading elements that follow the sun’s orientation and also makes use of some other simple technologies such as heat pumps, solar thermal panels and a canadian well system. However, the design is intended to be as passive as possible through the use of high thermal mass walls, plants and trees for shading, water to reflect natural light and cool the air, sun shading on the facades to optimize and limit natural light penetration, and by taking advantage of cool ground temperatures in the basement.