Projekt: ETU School

Beijing, China
ETU school
1900 m2 interior; 1600 m2 landscape
Design Period:
June to August, 2017
Construction Period:
June to December, 2017
December 2017
Crossboundaries, Beijing
Partners in charge:
DONG Hao, Binke Lenhardt
Design Team:
Cynthia Cui, Ewan Xiao, WANG Xudong
YANG Chaoying, Mini Liu

In just five months, Crossboundaries transformed a small, gray, three-story industrial building into an innovative primary school using spatial interventions to encourage exploration, play, and independent thinking.

Crossboundaries removed the double-loaded office layout, made the necessary structural reinforcements and implemented an entirely new spatial pattern. By arranging special rooms like dance studios on the more intimate edge of the building, the classrooms could be placed on the side with available natural light, and allow for the introduction of new, experiential, multifunctional blocks in between. Integrated social and event spaces throughout allow education to thrive even beyond the classroom and in every corner of the campus.

Color is an important guide throughout – both metaphorically and practically. The school colors, yellow and blue, highlight the multifunctional blocks against layers of green classrooms. And green forms the connective tissue of the campus, forming a three-dimensional lap around the school to tie together the ground floor sports fields with the roof terraces of the original building. With a total length of around one kilometer, the runway supports running, climbing, playing, relaxing, and gathering for small performances and events.

The interior design of the space represents the unique vision of the ETU School – that by providing for the individual health and happiness of teachers and students, the direct interaction between them becomes richer. The multifunctional blocks in the middle of each floor organize impromptu events and can combine with other spaces, like the dance studio, to create podium-like viewing areas. Internally, they create intimate areas and reading nooks for quiet reading and rest.

The activity of the multifunctional blocks permeates into the classrooms, with small windows and special staircases enabling visual connections and interactions between student and teacher before, during, and after class. These visual connections support children’s natural curiosity to explore, and the spatial diversity of the school encourages them to engage their education.