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School Redesign for Well-being


Various Primary Schools, Hong Kong

Project Description:

This trio of school repurposing projects is part of a larger design-research collaboration with academic institutions and 3 partner primary schools to develop an integrative co-create process to repurpose school environments that promote positive learning and student well-being. The campus renovation projects with limited budgets began by listening to the partner schools to identify their distinctive place-making needs.

Specific learning aspects and architectural themes emerged are then refined by an iterative co-design process engaging School stakeholders. Alternative design strategies are refined and operational prototypes are constructed for typical school settings and evaluate their potential for interactive, inquiry-based learning and student-centred pedagogy:

1)   Adaptable STEM Classroom – Po Leung Kuk CASTAR Primary School     保良局世德小學

2)   Outdoor space as playful landscape – Pat Heung Central Primary School (PHCPS) 八鄉中心小學

3)   Community Identity Boulevard – Fung Kai Liu Yun Sum Primary School(LYSPS)    鳳溪廖潤琛紀念學校

Repurposing existing built environments contributes to sustainable design and adopting a co-design approach allow users to engage in the transformation of existing spaces they inhabit. Given a large number of aging standardized school buildings in Hong Kong with outdated designs and rigid spaces, there is an urgent need and ample scope for reimagining, repurposing and developing redesign strategies for Schools that involve their users to cater for increasingly open and flexible contemporary student-centric pedagogy.

Description how the project contributes with humanity:

The project was awarded the Most Outstanding Design, DesignInspire 2020 Award awarded by DesignInspire 2020 Hong Kong Trade and Development Council. At CASTAR, we repurposed a standard existing computer lab into a multifunctional STEM room that enables flexible configurations, large and adaptable spaces for hands-on experiments and making. We introduced individualised mobile workstations that can combine to better facilitate student-centred learning tasks and instructional strategies.

At PHCPS, a tree-house of steps, platforms and curving vertical enclosures creates a cozy place for students Using the outdoor environment as third teacher, a range of interventions remodel the large open lawn area: a semi-cone pavilion is a mini-stage for performing and listening to environmental sounds; a rectangular sunken lawn for different ball games and group play with casual audience; a grass hill for chasing and vigorous free play; a sandpit for constructive play; coloured EPDM shapes for spontaneous peer activities such as sitting, chatting and picnic.

At LYSPS, solid separation between existing corridor space and activity room are opened up and combined a communal boulevard that allows spontaneous and interpersonal interactions, facilitates interactive pedagogy and builds up a sense of belonging and communality. Themes of multi-functionality, sense of belongingness and interactive pedagogy are explored in the co-creative process through a series of stakeholder meetings, as well as workshops with teachers, students and school community on Identity.

We favour an empathic co-design process, a collaborative approach whereby the architect/designer uses their expertise to facilitate the empowerment of users in taking initiative and responsibility to co-create a brief and design that fit their ambition with their site and situation. The architect/ designer maintains the mediating role between client and stakeholder, consolidates insights from mutual learning, leading to shifting mindsets and attitudes, eventually resulting in the resolved design and its professional execution, ideally including post-occupancy continuity as well. Our designs aim to balance different interests while creating transformative settings that are endowed with a generosity and openness that anticipate diverse appropriations and future alterations.

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