Huashan Middle School, Boguqi Campus / Zhaohui Rong Studio

Huashan Middle School, Boguqi Campus / Zhaohui Rong Studio

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Gobi. Boguqi is located on a narrow strip of land between the Tianshan Mountains and the Taklamakan Desert, with an annual precipitation of less than 20mm. From satellite maps, the extent of human activity is marked by a green boundary. Huashan Middle School’s Boguqi campus is situated here.

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Square City. “Square City” is a strategy for buildings to combat the external environment. The entire school is composed of two simple square rings: the larger ring serves educational purposes, while the smaller ring is for accommodation. “Square City” represents a “localized artificial nature” carved out of the Gobi, displaying a strong sense of defensiveness and a determination to protect the interior from the forces of nature. It is an educational city cut out of the Gobi’s yellow sands. The four-story building of Square City extends horizontally for 140 meters, creating a close connection between the architecture and the boundless landscape.

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Courtyard. The nearly 9,000 square meter courtyard within “Square City” is an artificial nature, giving birth to the “Hundred Trees Garden.” The terrain of the courtyard has been sculpted into a micro-topography with an elevation difference of nearly 3 meters, adding layers to the space. It is hoped that one day it will embody the scene where “the shade of green trees lasts through the long summer days, and the reflection of the pavilion casts into the pond.” The courtyard opens at the northwest corner, forming an outdoor performance plaza.

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Power. The continuous horizontal lines and simple forms possess a powerful strength, reflecting the characteristics of the western region and aligning with local construction capabilities. In the vast landscape, directness and clarity embody a natural quality. The contrast with the exaggerated scale of the structures reinforces this feeling.

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Brickwork. If simplicity is a form of power, then the brickwork in certain areas embodies warmth. Important sections of the large plastered walls are constructed with real bricks, creating a contrast with the main building. The presence of brickwork gives the architecture a strong handcrafted feel, adding a touch of warmth to the rugged structure.

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Gathering. A school is a place for gathering. The four-story high atrium space of the learning center is bright inside, with a homogeneous sawtooth skylight at the top. The entire space exhibits an open and integrative posture. The vertical shared atrium is a multifunctional hall, offering various possibilities for future teaching.

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The library is the intersection of the educational square ring and the accommodation square ring, serving as the traffic hub of the entire school. The circular hollow atrium opens to the public space, with light pouring in from the top, making the atrium bright and serene. It is a place for the exchange of books and the spiritual world. In years to come, it will undoubtedly become one of the students’ most memorable places.

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Sunset. The open space on the west side connects to the inner courtyard through seven massive consecutive arches. These oversized structures not only respond to the region but also further highlight the concept of a “city.” Every day, students can observe through which arch the sun sets. This is not only a matter of knowledge accumulation but also a focal point for forming collective memories on campus.

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