School+ WORKSHOP | Field Trip

School+ WORKSHOP | Beijing, March 23-25

The first day of the School+ WORKSHOP – bringing together young Chinese and Finnish architectural practices, along with teachers and students from Tsinghua’s School of Architecture – consisted of a series of excursions to innovative educational environments in Beijing 北京 – such as the Family Box & Tsinghua Primary School, followed by a site-visit to Baja urban village [located Northeast of Tsinghua University] and concluded by the launch of World Architecture Magazine 《世界建筑》 – issue on Finnish Architecture and a Finnish Architecture Symposium at Tsinghua University – School of Architecture 清华大学 – 建筑学院.

School+ WORKSHOP | Beijing, March 23-25

The Family Box is a 6,000-sqm, 3-story building advertising itself as the “one-stop recreation center for kids of all ages“, where “kids will enjoy the large scale climbing frame, Mickey Mouse play area, swimming pool, Sensory Room, Soft Island and Craft Room.” Our visit happened in the presence of architect Binke Lenhardt /crossboundaries architects – the designer of the Family Box [phase 1+phase 2 Aug 2011/Feb 2012].

The second stop on the educational tour was the Tsinghua Primary School by Prof. WANG Lifang [Tsinghua University, School of Architecture], a recipient project of the 2006 the National Golden Award for Excellent Architectural Design of China

And our last stop-of led us to a field trip to Baja urban village [Northeastern from Tsignhua University campus] and crammed in-between Beijing’s 5th Ring-road, a water-way and surrounding large-scale real-estate developments. By focusing the School+ WORKSHOP on a real-site in Beijing, the objective was to find some site specific solution for an urban, social, economic and educational condition that is a quite common phenomenon in the development of Chinese cities today.

A walk through the village led to impromptu site-analysis, discussions, documentation and speculation about the future of these villages, as well as the role of educational environments in these areas. Should schools be temporal, flexible and migratory, almost in the same way as its inhabitants are? Or should a school be a beacon of stability in a rapidly shifting urban environment?

Below, a selection of snapshots. Extended version here.

Family Box – by crossboundaries architects | School+ WORKSHOP visit

Tsinghua Primary School - by Prof. Wang LiFang | School+ WORKSHOP visit

Baja urban village [NE Tsinghua University, Beijing] | School+ WORKSHOP visit

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School+ WORKSHOP | Beijing, March 23-25

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