Hokkaido University of Science High School / TAISEI DESIGN Planners Architects & Engineers

Hokkaido University of Science High School / TAISEI DESIGN Planners Architects & Engineers

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A triangular school building creates various unique places—a new approach to school building design. When designing a school building, it is common practice to arrange rows of classrooms along a schoolyard and connect those rooms by corridors. Since the modern school system was established in the Meiji Era (1868-1912) and buildings categorized as school buildings emerged in Japan, many such building plans have been produced throughout the country. The diversifying educational needs in recent years, however, have given rise to circumstances where different types of school buildings are required.

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The new school building of the Hokkaido University of Science High School represents a new type of school plan, where rectangular classrooms are laid out in a triangular building so that the spaces created between the classrooms can be used for various activities. In-between spaces in front of the classrooms, which are inevitably produced because of the geometrical characteristics of a triangle, vary in area and height, and those spaces are furnished in various ways. Students can choose the places they like from various in-between spaces, sometimes visible between or through the stairways, and mezzanine-like spaces, sometimes hidden by them, to start their voluntary activities. This embodies the school’s concept of education, “Learn voluntarily.”

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The structural design features a triangular plan containing rectangular classrooms to form cores (earthquake-resistant elements) interconnected by slabs. Since the cores are designed to be reinforced concrete structures and the slabs are void slabs, the cores and slabs laid out in the plan form a three-dimensional space allowing unrestricted movement. This unprecedented use of space creates places where students can have accidental encounters and make new discoveries to foster their ability to think and bring about innovations.

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Hokkaido University of Science High School attempts to create a new type of school building architecture. Other attempts have been made in the past to come up with innovative school plans. Such attempts are most fundamental to and important for school building design and are a road that we should continue down.

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