Aedas has completed two international schools in Haikou for the British educational brand Harrow. It’s the first among a list of eminent names to be introduced to Hainan, following the province’s rise as a free trade port and its commitment to be a leading education hub in the region. Haikou, also known as the “Coconut City”, is the capital city of Hainan Province.
Situated in the tropics, steeped in serene coastal scenery and a pleasant climate, Haikou has evolved from a sightseeing city to an attractive seaside resort and business centre. Strategically located in Jiangdong District, Haikou, the Harrow International School and Harrow Innovation Leadership Academy (ILA) are set on a site of 96,673 sq m to provide Kindergarten to 12th grade international and bilingual education for a maximum of 1,800 students.
The design objective for this project is to create two distinct school buildings with ample shared spaces, and foster a learning environment that encourages exploration. The two schools—Harrow and its younger brand ILA—are both comprised of kindergarten, primary and secondary schools, dormitories and staff quarters.
The Harrow school is located along North boundary, and the ILA along the south, each with two rows of connected teaching blocks to create abundant courtyards and open space for students. Each school has an independent entrance which is identified by the open space between two teaching blocks on the front row. To ensure the overall layout meets users’ demands and aligns with the schools’ features, the master plan arranges the blocks in a compact and continuous manner.
There are shared facilities, such as a swimming pool and dining hall, set between the two schools to ensure equal access; while the sports ground in the east sprawls before the two institutions that also allows easy mean of entry. Each school is furnished with green decks and stepping terraces, designed on top of the auditoriums.
These open spaces are purposely placed adjacent to classrooms, accessible via overhead corridors. This measured configuration of functions, as well as the clearly delineated indoor-outdoor relationships, help engender a vibrant educational environment. A unique character of the campus is the semi-open design of the school buildings, deriving from an architectural feature endemic to Haikou, the verandas.
Accompanied with covered passage and communal streets, they enhance social engagement and serve as a totem for Haikou culture. The design for the two schools are coherent, with each of their own distinctive facade details: classic red bricks on the Harrow International School echo England’s architectural tradition in a modern and elegant style, while the lighter red on the ILA lend the edifice a brisk, clean facade that reflects its position as the younger brand.
“Through creating an inviting environment for interactive learning, we hope this project will recontextualise, and set a new benchmark for high-quality education across the region.” — Aedas Executive Director Cary Lau. Source by Aedas.