London-based Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) has masterplanned a striking primary school in a rural part of Jiangxi province, China, whose design calls for an industrial robot to create its vaulted shapes.
Lushan primary school will serve 120 children from 12 local villages in an area with a total population of about 1,800 people, 160km northwest of Nanchang, the provincial capital.
Responding the natural beauty of the area, with its mountains, lakes and rivers, the school’s classrooms, dormitory, and utility buildings are contained in vaulted spaces that open out onto its rural surroundings. The site is located on a small peninsula surrounded on three sides by water.
The school is on an elevated escarpment 5m above the 50-year flood level (render by VA)
Classroom arrangements are flexible and include outdoor teaching areas in the subtropical climate.
To keep construction time to a minimum, ZHA proposes to combine the local skills of in-situ concrete construction with new advancements in hot-wire cut foam formwork that can be prepared on site by an industrial robot to create the barrel and parabolic-shaped molds.
ZHA says this will cut the number of separate building elements needing transport to the remote location, while the modularity of the vaults enables molds to be used multiple times.
"The vaulted classrooms are orientated for the best natural light conditions, as well as to frame views to the surrounding landscape," said ZHA.
ZHA wants to use an industrial robot to create the barrel and parabolic shaped molds (render by ZHA)
"Cantilevers protect the classrooms from the solar gain of Jiangxi’s subtropical climate and extend the teaching spaces into the landscape to provide a varied and interactive learning environment.
"The barrel and parabolic vaults act as the school’s primary structure and enclosure, with each vault performing as an individual structural element."
Top image: The school’s classrooms, dormitory, and utility buildings are contained in vaulted spaces that open out onto its rural surroundings (render by VA)