The Eagle Studio is a community for artist training located in Hangzhou. The 72,000 ㎡ campus isdesigned to accommodate over 3000 students as an intensive 8 months tuition preparing for college entrance exam to tier one arts institutions. We look tothe building as a “dream factory”, a spatial model for an arts community helping to fulfill the ambition of its temporary users.
This factory required us to focus on many of the places and spaces in-between art centred activities focusing on emotions relating to study, compete, dwell and to dream. We hope to facilitate the best opportunities for social exchange for students.
Bringing together the social values of a campus masterplan, the idea was to optimise social experience and programme exchangeat any point of the campus. Where activities such as class studying, studio painting, lectures, dining, sports and resting, are interlocked and dispersedinto the public realm. This way visual links and architectural gestures can act subliminally to prompt interaction, communication and an identity through shared purpose. The building should be seen as a three dimensional grid where effort has been made to fundamentally blur the interior and exterior boundaries. Being neither inside nor outside, a permanent state of transitionis cultivated.
Instead of the low density sprawl of the traditional campus, the buildings are arranged to celebrate one continuous volume of spaces vertically. All 3000 Students are accommodated for arts related study centrallyon a single level accessed by long ramps through a central circulation hub.This enables visibility between drawing classes for teaching convenience and promotes the competitive atmosphere which will define their hopes for acceptance in highly desired institutions A 6-metre volume allows for optimum study conditions enhanced by diffused natural day light, integrated through aserrated louver system which can be seen expressed on the façade. It must also beadded that the space mirrors the environment which students will sit their exams often in large spaces naturally lit and partially external in large numbers. Each drawing group is indicated with floor markings consisting of 30 pupils within each boundary. The main visitor entrance on Level 1 includes a 500 ㎡ gallery space and reception for potential students.
Hangzhou being a very temperate much use is made of outdoor space for both teaching and leisure. Students Classrooms occupy Level 1 and 2, with abundant shaded breakout/social spaces to shelter against the local weather having sustained periods of precipitation. The basement contains canteen and sports facilities which benefit with natural light supplied through two large courtyard atriums. The campus dormitory loops around the perimetre of the site and forms a shaded internal street, split by a large campus square. The Studio on Level 3 block lowers and nods to reveal the main entrance. This forms a stepped plaza into the landscape to accommodate an auditorium, for impromptu events or external drawing classes. The roof extends to create a shaded armature supported by triangulated steel supports.
Eagle Studio goes the extra mile to present a series of low tech of sustainable building ideas. Natural light for painting was aprimary concept consideration and a priority was to harness North light which is the gold standard for painting. This was achieved through 62 skylight strips deployed over the whole painting studio Roof. North light or reflected soft light is captured and produces a cool temperature. It allows greater control over shadows while painting. Lighting levels were further increased by using adouble skinned Polycarbonate curtain wall. Polycarbonate is ideal material as opposed to plain glass due to its refractive properties and the effect it has on softening shadows. This helped supplemented the lighting levels to a higher level during the day especially on cloudy overcast days and reduced dependency on electricity use.
With a humid climate and an abundance of precipitation, it was also important to provide shaded areas for social interaction. Studio level 3 provides a large canopy to shelter outdoor space from the elements, and each classroom utilises the covered outdoor space by building seating into the façade. Due to the high humidity in the summer months natural airflow was promoted. All classrooms have large dual facing operable windows surface areas and the large central void to drag air up through the roof. It is hoped mechanical ventilation can be kept to a minimum in the summer months as all skylights have automated windows. In corporating an efficient circulation method for 3000 students to access the drawing studio without mechanical solutions was facilitated by 2 large ramps. The crossed ramps operate from Level 2 at opposite extremes of the site. Only a single lift operates for the primarily use of transporting parents and prospective students more efficiently in the building tour. Extensive planting in streets area located with a maximum permitted green coverage. Trees are located forshading and a green roof is incorporated on half the dormitory buildings. As mentioned extensively social sustainability was of primary concern and all we feel the many techniques used will create a more harmonious environment formany children under challenging working conditions.
For this large school, if the focus is to create a collective place that would mean the individual feel connect and link to each other. Through the loose boundaries between classroom/studios and recreational spaces it can enable a co-ownership, perhaps a sense of home, between the school and its inhabitants. We treat architecture at smaller human scales both teachers and students can substantially control, perhaps defined more as temporary occupation opportunities. We feel this focus will all eviate pressure associated with competitive training and enhance mental wellbeing of students and staff. As Herman Herzberg commented,〝Place implies a special value added to a space, it has a particular meaning for anumber of people who feel attached to one another or derive from it a feelingof a solidarity.〞