Today, land crunch is one of the major disadvantages of urban living. And in a country like China, it is a constant reminder of the deleterious effects of overpopulation. Thus when the Tiantai No.2 Primary School was to be built in the crowded Chinese province of Zhejiang, Hangzhou-based LYCS architecture firm immediately came to the rescue. Standing in the middle of Taizhou city, this one-of-a-kind elementary school features a 100-meter sprinting track, a 200-meter running track and an impressive open-air basketball court, located entirely on the rooftop!
According to the architects, the aim of the project was to create a beautiful environment that facilitates learning, growth and physical fitness of children. The modernist design, of the school, actually subverts the original problem of the scarcity of space, and gives birth to something that is truly spectacular. The 10,190 sqm area of the compound has been perfectly utilized to provide enough indoor space for a students’ playground.
In order to build the weather-resistant athletic track and the basketball court on the roof, the total height of the building was restricted to four floors, as opposed to the original plan of five floors. The oval shape of the school, angled at about 15-degrees, in fact helped in the construction of the rooftop sports arena, which in turn saved as much as 3000 sqm of usable land at the ground level.
Consequently, a 2,658 sqm internal courtyard is available for conducting various sports activities as well as events and assemblies involving the entire school. The common playground also features scattered green patches, where trees are planted. The roof has provisions for state-of-the-art athletic tracks, including a 200-meter looped running track that is almost as big as half of an Olympic track. Additionally, there is an open-air basketball court at one corner of the roof.
Three layers of guardrail are present to ensure the safety of the students. A 180 cm(5.9 feet)-high strengthened glass wall forms the outermost protective layer, while a 50 cm(1.65 feet)-wide green belt acts as the middle layer. The innermost layer consists of a 120 cm(3.93 feet)-high stainless steel railing. Spring cushions are placed under the track, at 50 X 50cm intervals, to reduce the disturbance caused by kinetic noise.