Reflective building materials have the ability to camouflage a structure. For Rural Urban Framework, the mirrored ceramic tiles of the new primary school toilet block in Mulan offered so much more than concealment. The tiles create a reflective mechanism that toys with light and enables a playful exterior for the school’s children.
The architects designed the toilet block, in addition to a playground and a building with additional classrooms. Schools within the village, located in the Guangdong Province, are being either expanded or closed via a government mandate. Interestingly the architects incorporated, as much as possible, the local community into their design creating collective open spaces for the village.
The site itself was originally built on unsafe terrain. There is a high-speed railway directly behind the school that had created a large mound of unstable earth, Dezeen explains. Therefore, the architects were tasked with creating an environment more suitable for the students of the school. Lead architect Joshua Bolchover, explained in an interview with Dezeen, “The school had attempted to partially flatten the site behind the school and had built up earth around the embankment to the new railway, but this slope was unstable and liable to mud slides due to its steep gradient and loosely packed earth.”
The architects reconfigured the landscape to minimize the slope and then added safety measures such as a concrete retaining wall. Additionally, as the project is a toilet block, the filtration of waste was an important design element requiring the addition of a reed bed beneath the retaining wall.
Each element of the design is purposeful from the open space layout to encourage communication to the building materials, which offer playfulness. One design element of particular importance, Bolchover explains, was the implementation of a public space, “Despite being asked on several occasions, we did not design a boundary wall, in order to maintain the porosity and interaction between the school and the village.”
photography courtesy of Rural Urban Framework
information courtesy of Dezeen
DISCLAIMER: The following project does not feature Alucobond® aluminum composite material (ACM). The “Industry (Architecture)” section of our blog focuses on extraordinary architectural works from around the world. While this project does not feature our ACM, we have included comparable samples to what was used in the project above.