The Hong Kong Community College (West Kowloon Campus)

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The Hong Kong Community College (West Kowloon Campus)
The Hong Kong Community College (West Kowloon Campus) New Interpretation of Campus Life in a Vertical Dimension This impressive project is a re-interpretation of high-rise campuses in the newly developed West Kowloon district of Hong Kong. It is a high-rise institutional building for the Hong Kong Polytechnic University to provide for its pre-tertiary education programme. It resembles the materials currently found in the main campus area of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University; however, over and above its fascinating feats of architectural feats, it affords the students a new identity for themselves and their university. The West Kowloon Campus Located at the junction between Hoi Ting Road and Hoi Wang Road, The Hong Kong Community College (West Kowloon Campus) is extremely easy to reach and obvious to passers-by in the surrounding areas. It is set back from the adjacent residential areas with an orientation that takes full advantage of the sea view of Victoria Harbour. It is at this superb site that it has become a landmark structure to be admired from both the West Kowloon Expressway to the West and Ferry Street to the East. With a gross floor area of over 31,000 square metres, The Hong Kong Community College (West Kowloon Campus) is especially designed for Associate Degree students who are studying Business Studies as their major. The Campus encompasses two connected towers with prime state-of-the-art teaching and learning facilities that offer students a dynamic learning atmosphere for holistic development. Additionally, the shape of the building is like an arch which also suggests the feeling of a "Gateway to Wisdom", encouraging students to widen their horizons and explore the many diverse aspects of the world they are about to enter. Materials and Form In order to maximize the teaching and communal spaces, two twin towers form the building mass, which are tectonically linked together by bridges and a podium. The required total floor plate area divided by the number of floors results in each floor plate probably being too large and this might induce a massive proportion. A floor plate that is of too great a magnitude would also hamper the penetration of daylight and reduce air ventilation. To avoid such a situation from occurring, the approach opted for was for the construction to be built around twin towers, which in fact in addition provides better cross-ventilation and greater efficiency in the use of floor plates. The central connecting structures also permit better linkage in the role of communal spaces. The twin towers and the connecting structures are carefully positioned to maintain solidity and transparency. “Red-brick` tiles are adopted for the solid twin towers while aluminium cladding with glass walls are employed for the more transparent connecting bridge structures. Innovation and Communal Spaces Due to Hong Kong’s limited land resources and height restrictions, the Hong Kong Community College (West Kowloon Campus) aims to produce the transformation of the campus communal space design, which is usually provided in the form of a garden on lower floors, into major multi-sky decks with the appearance of high-rise landscaped gardens. Along with other amenities like canteen and student union premises, the campus atmosphere is extended to the sky communal decks forming the popular points of the upper campus. The extensive teaching facilities are found on the lower floors not only because of the larger floor plates present there but because more interaction and communication can be promoted among the first-class teaching facilities such as lecture theatres, indoor sports hall, special classrooms and so on. They are shared and connected effectively with an escalator and lifts system. Such facilitates an effective pedestrian circulation and reduces the heavy loading on the mechanical vertical structure. Main staircases next to the escalators link up all the sky gardens together. They help to bring the outdoor surroundings into the interior. The wind, sunlight and greenery bounce off each other harmoniously in line with the internal spaces. The ambience is drawn into the interiors of the building not only visually but with a certain spirituality. The boundaries of indoor and outdoor are fused so that users feel nature all around them as they enter and leave the various pockets of space. Also, the design of the 3-level podium aims to minimize the blocking of the view and light to nearby developments, to maximize natural lighting by appropriate floor plate size and to enrich natural ventilation by the incorporation of sky gardens. Sustainability and Flexibility For sustainability and flexibility, the building design encourages an embracing of the natural environment and use of environmentally friendly materials. Innovative building technologies are used in the design with close collaboration with academics from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in order for the building to achieve energy efficiency and a healthy community. The design enriches Hong Kong’s general ventilation through incorporation of sky gardens. The multi-level gardens enrich the building’s elevation with a natural, pleasant environment and help to create a refreshing learning and communal environment. Enhancement of the Education Process The design also enhances education pursuits by allowing flexibility in teaching and learning, as it allows semi-outdoor teaching. The sky and podium gardens are conducive to students’ discussions on projects as they provide additional semi-outdoor teaching spaces for discussions and interactions between teachers and students. Also, the corridors provide gathering places for informal groups and discussions among students as well. With the cutting-edge technology available, they can use whatever means of information technology to communicate with other people, browse the web and gain access to the world without normal physical boundaries. The design builds on recent developments whereby teaching is no longer an activity limited to the confines of traditional classrooms, but promotes learning in more casual and interactive ways. This applies to the introduction of “Tomorrow Classrooms` as well. Students form various small groups in the “Tomorrow Classrooms` to encourage greater discussions and interactions among teachers and students, making learning dynamic.


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