Over the Weather

Architecture Design, International Competition

Schooling under extreme weather

This is an international design competition held by the institution "Building Trust International". The challenge aimed to find an innovative school design proposal that can withstand the extreme Mongolian winters.

By combining the consideration of environmental conditions, materials, space, accessibility, and adaptability, we came up with the design "Over the Weather".

Team

Tai-Yuan Huang, Esther Jan

My role

Architectural designer in a team of two.

Location

Khovd, Mongolia

Status

Competition

Year

2015

Background

The site of this challenge is located in Khovd, the capital of the Khovd Province of Mongolia. The school currently facilitates 550 children's primary school education. However, the existing architecture is very old, dilapidated and has no indoor toilets, forcing children to use outdoor facilities even in the coldest months. Furthermore, due to the scale of existing indoor space, children have to go to another school for physical education despite cold and warm seasons.

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Location

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Site

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Images: existing rundown school, Jargalant Soum, Shoved, Mongolia (Picture from Building Trust International)

From the site photos, we can examine clearly that the school is lacking of a space where children can take on activities without avoiding to expose in the inclement weather condition.

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The Design

Concept

We created an additional architecture where it can allow children to enjoy the changes in weather, nature, and also a place where they can approach the world with their curiosity. Taking the expressed needs and the attributes of the existing architecture into consideration, the new design is formed as a complement to the existing school house.

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.

Elements

01 Sun Route

The building has a sloped roof with two different angles. The various directions of daylight give the rooms a vivid and comfortable atmosphere.

02 Yurt

Yurt has been the traditional living space under Mongolia's weather. The traditional yurt structure has a hole in the roof, serving as a sky roof to help in air ventilation. We transform the "sky roof" element inside the middle of the expansion, allowing the indoor activities to interact between different floors.

Program

Move your mouse onto the numbers to see more descriptions about the project!

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Sky Roof

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​

Voids

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.

Green House

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.

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

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.

Multifunction Stairs

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

Gym

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.

Adjustable Opening

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.

Process

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Floor Plans

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First Floor

Second Floor

Strategy

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