Structured & Dynamic is the idea that under a seemingly rigid façade and grid, lies the freedom for expressivity. The structured grid and bold façade are the reflection of a strong association over half a century of dedication in developing a standard and foundation for Malaysia’s Chinese schools to build upon, and as a mediator for the Chinese education in Malaysia.
Between these bold lines lies the concealed, yet unsuppressed dynamic expression; organic internal spaces and criss-crossing lines free from the structured grid representing the versatile and multi-functional spaces within. This freedom of expressions comes not at the cost of losing its image of resilience, of robustness and of strength, but as complimentary aesthetical language. The result are two intertwining languages forming representation of a forward-looking, dynamic organisation flourishing under the solidity and strength provided by the years of experience in the education field.
Sustainability strategies employed are built-in to the façade language as a passive strategy. The deep façade members acts as the ‘second skin’, providing deep overhangs to protect the spaces from direct solar heat gain, reducing cooling requirements in the classrooms; directional clerestory windows control the amount and direction of sunlight entering the multi-purpose hall. The existing water feature is also proposed to be upgraded to a storm water drainage pond for the new complex instead of the typical on-site drainage tank; allowing evaporative cooling to naturally cool down the complex. All public areas are also fully opened to an atrium or exterior of the building to allow for natural ventilation to reduce electricity required to mechanically cool down the complex.
Working around the spatial requirements needed in the complex, catering for the existing educational curriculum, our approach to the spatial planning relies on the ‘in-between spaces’; the corridors and stairways leading from one formal function to the other. Our approach emphasises in these in-between spaces where all users, lecturers and students across any curricular streams uses. The meaningful provision of in-between spaces provides opportunities for relationships to foster between peers, senior-junior relationships, society members and even educator-student liaisons.
Our design approach also provides versatility to these secondary spaces; apart from its usage as informal gathering spaces, these spaces could also be converted to be used as event venues or for extra-curricular activities. For example, the amphitheatre is designed to cater for large crowd gatherings yet scaled intimately to allow for a private lunch break seated at the steps.