Project Name: Astronomical Park of ZhenzeHigh School
Architects: Specific Architects + Unit Architects
Location:Wujiang,Suzhou, Jiangsu, China
Design Director: Zheng Yong
AstronomyConsultant: Li Min
Design Team: Liu Huiping, ZhangWanli, Liu Haojie
Area: 673.0 sqm
Project Year: 2012-2015
Photographs: LYU Hengzhong
Astronomical Park is an important part in the astronomical cultural construction of Zhenze High School. In order to extend and carry forward the teaching characteristics of astronomy of Zhenze High school, the school invited architects to be in charge of the design of the astronomical square, the display space of astronomical knowledge, the Hall of Astronomical Phenomena and other projects in 2012.
Architects believe that astronomical projects in schools should not only be used as functions that are occasionally opened or used only at special moments and detached from the daily life, but also should be integrated into the daily campus life in some way, and become a part of the life of teachers and students. Therefore, architects put forward the idea of constructing astronomical projects in the form of parks, combination of the astronomical theme with the campus environment, and having them become links between the original relatively independent and separate functional areas.
After examining the sites, the architects suggested that the bases for astronomical projects be set up in the triangle area among the teaching area, the dormitory area and the sports area of the school, in which various forms of communication are carried out.
The architects built a sloping micro-topography, which is gentle in the south and slightly steep in the north, in the Astronomical Park. Green planting with differences in density -- sparse in the south and relatively dense in the north, is also consciously carried out. With the combination of the terrain and plants, the unique regional characteristics of the Astronomical Park are acquired, which leads to the transition from the original flat campus space to a more diverse campus space.
Astronomy Pavilion, Planetarium Pavilion, outdoor observation sites and outdoor sites for astronomical knowledge studying and so on are transformed into circular elements, which are scattered in the sites like stars in the night and form interesting spaces by anchoring each other with the slopes.
In addition to this, the architects expected to create an impressive principal space. The Astronomy Pavilion is the largest circular base, in the middle part of which the architects set up the empty courtyard, the upper part of which folds inward, thus eliminating the interference of the surrounding environment. The pure circular sky mutually echoes with the circular courtyard floor laid with white stones, thus forming a relatively closed geometric space, which can enable people in it to be in meditations. With the empty courtyard, the scenes on the sky are showed clearly to remind students to look up at the sky in addition to engaging in academic study.
The periphery of the empty courtyard is designed with the annular indoor space and semi-indoor space. Through the intervention of a series of circles tangent with the inner and outer circles, and the reconstruction of the center of the circles, the different spaces for use aresubdivided by the arc wall, among which the largest space is designed into a space for exhibition and reading.
The two staircases, which are set in the tangential circle, form a two-way spatial spiral relationship between the roof and the mainfloor, and connect the continuous indoor and outdoor space with the observation site on the roof smoothly. The infinite spiral, continuous and dynamic organization means enables the astronomical theme to be further presented.
The Planetarium Pavilion, which is the second largest circular building in the base, is located on the north side of the Astronomical Park. The architects made it free from the conventional closed mode and into an open landscape pavilion integrated into the environment. The Planetarium Pavilion is designed with a dome-shaped screen, with seats, which can accommodate 30 people at the same time, arranged along the side of it. The setting of a metal shading and sound absorption window ensures that the presentation of the astronomical phenomena can be achieved at any time. All the control equipment is set in the supporting room under the grass slope, which purifies the interior space of the Planetarium Pavilion and facilitates the daily management.
The Planetarium Pavilion is shaped like an inverted round platform, the tiles on the top of which add the finishing touchto the building in appearance and makes the geometric building be bestowed with the charm of the combination of the pavilions and fields in Chinese gardens. The practice of the hollowing-out technique also makes the lighting of the campus at night more special.
In order to meet the characteristics of students who are energetic and willing to explore, architects set various paths across the sites, allowing users to interact with different parts of the Astronomical Park under different circumstances, getting different experiences and pleasure of exploring.
The park-style design makes the astronomical elements fully presented in the campus, and remolds the space and the genius loci of the campus. Now, the Astronomical Park has been well integrated into the daily campus life, where students rest, read, play, and chat. Due to the construction of the Astronomical Park, the campus which seemed dull before has become more special and energetic. Besides, it also provides the students with indelible memory of the campus life.