African Design Magazine November 2015 - Page 56

I n Mulan Village, Huaiji, Guangdong Province, the construction of the high speed rail created a huge incision into the landscape and a repository of earth at the back of an existing primary school. This slope was unstable and also led to flood damage of the old courtyard building. This school was designated for expansion and the architect’s commission was to design an educational landscape involving the creation of a new school block, a toilet and a playground. The architect’s strategy was to organise the site as a series of sequential open spaces, linking the courtyards between the existing school, the new building and the playground. The loose earth of the slope was recontoured and retained through the creation of a reed-bed filtration system and toilet that edged the basketball court. The reed-bed channels bifurcate and split apart to create small discovery gardens and play spaces. 56 The roof of the new building is a continuous ribbon that rises from the ground as a series of steps forming a new public space and outdoor classroom. The steps are