Over the Weather
Architecture Design, International Competition
Schooling under extreme weather
This is an international design competition held by "Building Trust International". The challenge aims at finding an innovative school design proposal that can withstand the extreme winter weather of Mongolia.
Our team took various factors, including environmental conditions, materials, space, accessibility, and adaptability, into consideration, and came up with the design "Over the Weather".
Tai-Yuan Huang, Esther Jan
Architectural designer in a team of two.
The site of this challenge is located in Khovd City, which is the capital of the Khovd Province of Mongolia. The school currently supports the primary education for 550 children. However, the existing architecture is very old, dilapidated and has no indoor toilet, forcing children to use outdoor facilities even in the chilliest months. Furthermore, due to the size of the existing indoor space, children have to go to another school for physical education in all seasons, whether cold or warm.
Images: existing rundown school, Jargalant Soum, Shoved, Mongolia (Picture from Building Trust International)
From the site photos, we can examine clearly that the school lacks a space where children can participate in activities while avoiding exposure to the inclement weather.
We created a place where children are allowed to satisfy their curiosity by freely exploring the world, and do not have to worry about the drastic changes in weather. We have also integrated the expressed needs and attributes of the existing architecture into our design process, and thus the new design will be complementary to the existing structure.
Through the sequence of spaces it takes the users in a journey through motional and statical spaces. With the arrangement of the windows and voids, a sense of openness and abundant of natural light is present in the whole building. Through the experience in the building, the narrative of spaces is a combination of elements consisted by the condition of the site's location.
01 Sun Route
The building has a sloped roof with two different angles, which creates various paths for daylight to enter the rooms, creating a bright and comfortable atmosphere.
Yurt is the traditional residence for Mongolians, designed to adapt to Mongolia's weather. The traditional yurt structure has a hole in the roof, serving as a sky roof to enable air ventilation. We transform the "sky roof" element inside the middle of the expansion, allowing indoor activities to interact with different floors.
Move your mouse onto the numbers to see more descriptions about the project!
During the day, the sky roof will allow different angles of sun shine through the windows, creating different atmosphere and children can experience the connection with nature through the passin
The circulation route on the second floor is based on the separation of spaces made by the voids.
Through the voids, children can see through the building, and activities won't be stopped by the difference of floors, keeping the activities continuous throughout the building.
Due to the cold weather in Kohvd, Mongolia, the indoor green house can allow children to have a chance to see fresh plants even in the coldes season.
The green house is designed to be n open space that can combine with the reading corner.
The reading corner is designed to be an extension of the remaining library. Children can access to the reading corner through the main hallway, or from the old library. The sunken floor provides a cozy reading corner for teachers to give storytelling sessions, or purely serves as a secured place for children to read.
Hill Top is the highest spot on the ground floor. it provides a buffering zone between the gym in the south and the reading corner in the north side. Underneath the hill are hidden toilets and storage space.
The huge staircase sitting in the middle of the ground floor provides a very flexible space that can be divided or together. With the stairs, the school can hold big gatherings for everyone. When needed, the staircase and the flat area in front of it can be divided to response to multiple uses
The gym is located in the southern part of the house in order to give easy access towards the outdoor yard. Sports activities won't be limited indoor when the weather is good, and can be extended continuously to the outdoor.
The huge door on the south side opens to the outdoor yard, the door is designed with special mechanism which can open automatically responding to the angles of the sun. With this technology, the architecture itself is responsive to the climate, and children can enjoy the nature more freely.