Caged balconies provide open-air corridors that are sheltered from harsh sunlight and tropical rain at this school in Vietnam by architects Vo Trong Nghia.
Vertical concrete louvres and perforated screens create the cage-like facade, which shades the corridors from direct sunlight whilst letting in the breeze.
The entire school is contained within a single five-storey building to keep both students and teachers dry during the rainy summer season.
The walls of the building are curved to snake around two courtyards and the roof slopes up gradually from the ground to the top floor.
Binh Duong School is located in the town of Di An, just north of Ho Chi Minh City, and provides teaching facilities for up to 800 junior and high school students.
The school is nominated for an award at this year’s World Architecture Festival, alongside a house with a vertical garden on its facade by the same architects.
Photography is by Hiroyuki Oki.
Here's a project description sent by Vo Trong Nghia:
Binh Duong School by Vo Trong Nghia + Shunri Nishizawa + Daisuke Sanuki
Binh Duong, a new city which is 30 minutes away from Ho Chi Minh City, has a typical tropical climate all year round. The site is located in the middle of a flourishing forest with a wide variety of green and fruits, running rampant. This is where folks spending their time under the shade of trees. To pursuit a beautiful life, people are in harmony with the nature, making the border between the inside and the outside ambiguously. From the very first impression of the site, we tried to embed the building into the site by delivering this Vietnam-oriented generous spirit of natural land into the school design, which will eventually have 800 students.
The building is located in 5300 square meters abundant land, consisting of a maximum height of five levels, with the intention of being surrounded by the height of the forest around. Pre cast concrete louvers and pattern walls are used for envelop of the building. These shading devices generate semi-outside space, these open circumstances avoiding direct sunlight as well as acting like a natural ventilation system for the corridor space. All the classrooms are connected by this semi-open space, where teachers and students chatting, communicating and appreciating nature.
We designed the school as a continuous volume in order not to disturb any school activities. This fluidity concept is inspired by the endless raining of the typical tropical climate, where raining season lasts from May to November each year.
This continuous volume has a gentle slope surrounding the two courtyards as a geographical hill, lessens the aggressive height between the building and the peaceful site.
The school is designed as an S shape, connected to the ground at one end, curving around two courtyards with two different characteristics. Front yard is used for public space, serving for formal events such as meetings of the school. Backyard is more private, where students spend their personal time.
Teacher rooms; gym, laboratory and library are located around the front yard, while common students' classrooms are arranged around the back yard. The open space flows throughout the circulation to help teachers and students enjoy various activities of the two courtyards with rich natural surroundings.
Thus, we intended this school to be borderless between the school activity and surrounding nature and also not to destroy the current abundant forest as much as possible. In this open school, students enjoy their life learning the generous spirits of nature. This is our alternative proposal for school design in Vietnam.
Site plan - click above for larger image
Floor plans - click above for larger image
Section - click above for larger image
South elevation - click above for larger image
East elevation - click above for larger image