When Crossboundaries was tapped to design the Jinlong School, an educational campus with classrooms and dorms in Shenzhen’s newly established Pingshan district, the Beijing-based architecture firm was challenged by a limited budget and a scheduled opening date in only 13 months. To adhere to the tight deadline, the architects enlisted a local Shenzhen-based factory to prefabricate the majority of the school’s construction. Prefabrication not only allowed the architects to meet the brief’s budget and timeline, but also kept on-site construction waste to a minimum as well. 

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a multi-story building with pops of blue and yellow

Completed in January 2020, the Jinlong School comprises 36 classrooms, dormitories, sports facilities, a canteen, office space, a theater, a library and other amenities on a compact 16,000-square-meter site. Following a five-month design period, construction took place from November 2018 to August 2010; approximately 75% of the project used prefabricated components. Created to help ease Shenzhen’s public school shortage, the campus is expected to enroll 1,620 students by 2025. 

a school building with a courtyard in front of it. blue, yellow and green seating areas are placed throughout the courtyard

To show that prefab architecture doesn’t have to be boring, the architects created a dynamic facade punctuated with different colors and windows of varying sizes with protruding metal frames. Yellow accent colors were used to define areas of socialization, such as common areas in the dorms, while the color blue indicates circulation spaces such as hallways and stairwells. The dormitories and classrooms were primarily built from prefabricated components and the public spaces, such as the running track at the heart of the campus, were mainly constructed with conventional techniques.

Related: MVRDV designs a sustainable “urban living room” for Shenzhen

interior hallway of a school with blue walls and ceilings

The campus design also responds to Shenzhen’s subtropical climate with the public areas mostly open to the outdoors to promote access to natural ventilation and daylight. “We were extremely intrigued to take on this project, to create a human, people-oriented school within all those limitations, and at the same time to still be as creative as possible, in designing a space that provides a solution for a realistic problem that we all have to face in quickly expanding cities in the future,” Hao Dong, Founding Partner of Crossboundaries, said.

+ Crossboundaries

Images by Yang Chaoying