University in China embraces an ‘Active Learning Environment’

Designed to embrace diversity, interaction and knowledge sharing, Scandinavian practice Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects‘ proposal has succeeded in an international competition for their 25,000m² student centre and library for the Wenzhou-Kean University in Wenzhou, China.

Based on 500 acres in a rural mountainous region, the university will provide learning and living space for 8,500 students and create opportunities for new ways of learning in an informal environment.

Set against a verdant backdrop of mountains, the exterior of the student centere and library appears as four rectangular shapes stacked on top of one another. The envelope is wrapped in semi-transparent glass covered in an abstract fritted pattern and the new building will connect the educational faculties in the south and student residence in the north. The façade is inspired by Wenzhou’s mountainous terrain, and vernacular bamboo construction common in the city’s historical architecture.

Located at the ground and first level, the student activity centre is designed as a central marketplace. Accessed from all sides, the activity centre will host areas for a range of programs including a cafe, theatre, dance and music studios and in turn, spaces for informal meeting and gathering. Stairs and bridges in the atrium connects the upper levels, where a grand ‘book stack’ housing 30,000 books will be seen in the light-filled atrium that leads up to the library and study spaces.

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