Zaha Hadid Architects Designs Parabolic-Vaulted School Campus in Rural China
Zaha Hadid Architects has unveiled its design for the Lushan Primary School, an educational campus that will serve around 120 students from 12 villages in a rural area of Jiangxi Province in China. The design features a series of barrel and parabolic vaults constructed from concrete, which are oriented to offer optimum lighting conditions and views out to the landscape.
Comprising the school, dormitory and utility buildings, the length of each vault is adapted to accommodate the school’s program. At the center of the largest cluster of vaults, a courtyard provides a circulation space and play area. The ends of the vaults cantilever beyond the building envelope to extend the teaching environment outdoors and to protect the interior from solar gain.
Due to the remote location of the school, Zaha Hadid Architects has proposed a novel method of construction in which the complex formwork for the concrete vaults will be manufactured on site. A robot arm with a hot wire cutter will be delivered to site and shape foam pieces to create the concrete molds. Since the vaults are modular, these formwork pieces will also be reusable.
The building will be finished with ceramic external surfaces, referencing the region’s history of producing high-quality ceramics which dates back to the Ming Dynasty. These external finishes will include a gradient of tones that delineate the programs within each building.