Western Academy of Beijing is a 600-student international school for early-childhood to eighth-grade students. Its inquiry-based curriculum focuses on information technology, multimedia and the performing arts. The design embraces China’s heritage and the school’s high educational standards by employing elements that facilitate learning and community interaction, and CAPACITY600COST PER SQ FT$60.63CITATIONElementary School CitationFEATURED IN2002 Architectural Portfolio attentive to color, children’s scale, natural lighting and climate.
In a participatory design process, a linear concept solution was selected with a two-level circulation along a north-south spine. Classroom pods are arranged along the east side of the “street” with courtyards between and support spaces to the west. The media center is the heart of the building, accessible from both “street” levels. A two-story cafeteria, or atrium, is the piazza and exits to a dining courtyard. The atrium serves as the lobby for a 400-seat theater, which opens to a 400-seat amphitheater and a gymnasium.
Color-coded concrete shear walls have concrete slabs on the support spans and steel trusses on the long spans. Aluminum sun-control louvers are on the east, south and west.
"A contemporary solution that reflects context. An international floor plan for excellence."--Jury 2002