Nominee

A Civic Square

Designed by: Eureka
For client: The ISF Academy Floor area: 850.00 M² Year of completion: 2018
Submitted for: Learning Space of the Year

07 Detail 1
© Bai Yu

Detail 1: Glued-laminated timber beams carefully spaced to create individual seating along the long bench next to the courtyard

About the Project

The project transforms an existing semi-outdoor transitional space into a civic square for the members of the academy, in the name of Professor Charles Kao, the pioneer of the development and use of fibre optics in telecommunications.

The design concept is to construct a pavilion under the sky where students, teachers and visitors gather. Two-layered glued-laminated timber beams are used to construct the spatial structure, with directions echoing the spatial connections linking the key spaces. They become lines guiding people across the square.

Lighting is essential to create an uplifting atmosphere in such a deep space. To achieve this, above each timber beam inserts a continuous line of light boxes. Each light box is made of LED strip light with stretched barrisol membrane below to diffuse light uniformly like the sky.

The design delibrately replaces the wall of the library with a stage to create a smooth transition between the square and the library. Informal and formal performances, sharing and talks can take place. Existing staircase to senior common space on floor above is enlarged to create a hang-out steps where members can sit and relax next to the lush hillside. Cafe is connected to the square with seating spilling out, and the existing courtyard is enclosed and framed to appear an internal garden for the square.

The whole space becomes a vibrant space with various activities can take place.

What’s unique about it

We see there are two key reasons:

Firstly, the civic square has created a strong sense of identity for the school. It is a free space for everyone. During the breaks, one can see students happily gather around in the square: playing the piano, sitting causally and chatting, grabbing food, discussing works with teachers, getting a book from the library and reading along the steps or next to the courtyard. Sometimes in the morning we can see parents or members from the public coming in and playing tai-chi, and mothers drinking coffee. The members can feel strongly power of the space and the freedom to use the space.

Secondly, to create a pavilion under the sky, the design has to carefully intergrate the existing and the new building services. Features such as sprinkler heads and air grilles are delibrately removed from the barrisol ceiling. At the same time, the design has adopted natural materials, and considered cross ventilation during autumn and winter for energy saving.

01 Entrance
© Bai Yu

View from the main entrance

09 Spatial Diagram
© Eureka

Spatial diagram showing the vision of the civic square

08 Detail 2
© Bai Yu

Detail 2: Two layers of glue-laminated timber next to the yellow travertine wall of the library

06 Hangout Steps
© Bai Yu

Existing staircase to senior common space on floor above is enlarged to create a hang-out steps where members can sit and relax next to the lush hillside.

05 From Courtyard
© Bai Yu

Glass around the courtyard framing and reflecting.

04 Courtyard
© Bai Yu

Pavilion under the sky: LED strip light with stretched barrisol membrane below to diffuse light uniformly like the sky

03 Cafe
© Bai Yu

The glue-laminated timber beams bend with the spatial flow, bringing the focus to the courtyard and the hillside greenery

02 Library
© Bai Yu

Two-layered glued-laminated timber beams are used to construct the spatial structure, with directions echoing the spatial connections linking the key spaces.

Location of project:
Credits:
Eureka Limited

Talent Mechanical & Electrical Engineers Ltd.

Pypun Engineering Consultants Ltd

Pat Davie Limited

The ISF Academy

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