Poly WeDo is a new children’s education brand of Poly Culture Group, which aims at exploring and developing kids’ talents and potentiality in music, and improving their comprehensive art accomplishments. ARCHSTUDIO was invited to undertake the design of their teaching space within Yongli International Shopping Centre on Workers’ Stadium North Road, Beijing. The top issue to be solved while doing the design thinking was how to create an open, free and flexible modern teaching environment which would break the limits of rigid structure and create a feeling of closeness between children and the space.
The project covers the area encompassing seven pillars of the shopping center on the first floor. The basic structure of the space is framework + shear wall. It enjoys an area of about 1,000㎡and has a basement with an area of 300㎡. ARCHSTUDIO removed the concrete block wall as much as possible to open up the closed space; a corridor was used to connect the classrooms to the public space. All the teaching spaces – including music classroom, private classroom, reception hall, theatre and rehearsal room, etc. – stretch out horizontally to the atrium of the shopping center. The sloped roof extends to the wall and then the floor, which becomes the extension of classrooms and public space. The entire teaching space is like a translucent “indoor village”, which presents spaces of a variety of scales and textures, according to different needs. It presents the children with an intimate, natural and cozy environment for playing music and learning.
ARCHSTUDIO introduces green landscaping to soften the restriction of structural walls and to keep the teaching area in touch with nature all the time. Part of the floor slab of the atrium is removed; the bamboo courtyard extends into the dancing classroom, the yoga classroom, and the office in the basement. The bamboo courtyard is the highlight of the landscaping of the entrance hall, and the shifting point for traffic across the two floors. Gaps between the walls of the classrooms are used to create the landscape area; thus “outdoor” space is formed in the indoor space. And the combination of plants and bookshelves makes kids’ reading coexist easily and naturally with rest.
Music classrooms need to satisfy acoustical requirements in terms of sound insulation and sound absorption. For the purpose of soundproofing, three-layered hollow glass was used for the walls of the music classrooms; wood grain aluminum grille and aluminum plate were used for the ceiling. In addition to soundproofing treatment, the shape of the sloping roof and the wavy surface of the grille have the effect of audio mixing. Because of the limitation in height of the small theatre, we kept the original ceiling, using only some sound-absorbing wood panels on part of the wall, which heightened the space visually and achieved an excellent acoustic effect as well.