link-ed(u): futian campus

Year: 2018 - 2023
Size: 120,000 m2
Type: educational
Status: completed
Location: Shenzhen, Guangdong, China
Client: Shenzhen Futian Educational Bureau + Shenzhen Futian Public Works Bureau

Partners in charge: Chen Chen, Nicola Saladino, Shoutuo Lyu, Federico Ruberto
Project architect: Jiajia Zhang
Design team: Muzhi Chen, Jintong Duan, Yiren Wang, Yangyang Liu, Bingling Xu, Si Chen, Yuxuan Chen, Lu Tan (competition)
Alexandre Braleret, Yiren Wang, Marco Navarro, Peng Nie, Javier Pelaez, Nuofan Xu, Si Chen, Jiahong Huang, Ruiting Wang, Jieqi Yao (design development)

Construction agency: Vanke
Local design institute: CAPOL
Landscape design development: PIO Landscape
Interior design development: SD Design
Lighting consultant: Ning Field Lighting Design Corp. Ltd.

Futian Campus is a ground-breaking model of boarding school in the heart of Shenzhen, the most modern and dynamic Chinese metropolis. Its unicity comes from multiple factors: a context of extreme urban conditions, a very high density, a program layout that allows the school to have a transparent interface and most facilities to be shared with the neighbours, together make Futian Campus a prototype of “a new city within the city”.

The context

In 1980, when Shenzhen was given the status of “special economic zone”, the city was little more than a cluster of fishermen villages with a total population of 300,000 inhabitants in a strategic geographic position due to its extended coastline and its proximity to Hong Kong. Thanks to its special status the city has experienced the fastest process of urbanization in human history and nowadays it hosts almost 18 million inhabitants.
This unprecedented urban growth has had positive and negative effects: on the one hand it has spurred the city to become the engine of Chinese innovation (both in social and economic terms); on the other hand it has produced phenomena of hyper-densification due to scarcity of available soil - as a reference Shenzhen and Beijing have a similar population, but Shenzhen has only 1/8 of Beijing’s area - and lack of public facilities, particularly schools, which have not managed to keep up with the pace of growth of the rest of the city. To solve this deficit, in the last five years the local government has built more than 200 new schools.
Futian is located right at the centre of the new metropolis. Within a radius of a few kilometres from the school, one can observe the greatest variety of urban fabrics: Hong Kong green reserve land in the distance, Futian urban village (one of the few remains of the old town) in the immediate adjacency, already surrounded by new 100+ meters high residential towers, the new Central Park in front and on the other side of the park, the imposing skyscrapers of the CBD. In this context, the site of the school, locked by high-rise buildings on three sides, presented itself as one of the last plots of low density to be upgraded by the new development.
The city’s search for innovation resonated in the competition call for Futian High School, through a new urban manifesto called “8+1 - Futian New Campus Action Plan”. The competition brief asked architects to fundamentally rethink the idea of “campus” and explore new school typologies that had to address an unprecedented density and a changing educational system; in other words rethinking what a contemporary school campus should be and how it can operate locally, proposing new hybrid typologies that allow a stronger dialogue with its neighbouring community.

Urban strategy

The higher volumes of the teaching towers and the dorms are placed along the east and south boundaries of the site, creating a clear connection with the skyline of the adjacent buildings and a smooth degrading transition towards the urban void of the park. The imposing volume of the dorms (120m long and 50m high) is divided by a series of vertical and horizontal cuts that articulate the massing and bring down its scale to blend with the built fabric of the adjacent urban village.
Contrary to most Chinese schools that are arranged around a central focal point (usually the sports field), the buildings of Futian Campus are focusing outwards: through a series of visual corridors all the volumes open up to the mesmerizing views of Futian Central Park and the CBD. Thus students are not isolated from their neighbourhood anymore, but they are active spectators of the surrounding city.

A school without a fence: sharing facilities with the neighbours

Traditionally Chinese schools are urban islands with campus structures that isolate them from their neighbours and a lot of underused facilities that for security reasons are not accessible by external users. Futian Campus design challenges this configuration in favour of a much more flexible management scheme that partially opens the school to the local community.
In order to fulfil all the functional requirements of the brief in a relatively small site, one crucial design decision was to elevate the running track 7.4m above the road level, forming a thick podium that hosts all the larger pieces of the program, organized around a series of courtyards that create a porous mat structure. This configuration allowed to generate an unusual urban interface: rather than the standard blind fence, the school boundary along the main road is a transparent façade that gives direct access to a series of semi-public facilities. In the weekends or for special events, a group of indoor and semi-outdoor basketball, volleyball and badminton courts, a gym, a swimming pool, an exhibition space and a 1,000 seats auditorium (in total 13,600 m2 of public program) can all be opened to external users, thus transforming the school from a hermetic bubble into a civic centre.
As a response to the irregular shape of the site, the running track on top of the podium is rotated 15 degrees anti-clockwise from the ideal north-south orientation to create a smoother connection with the buildings around it. As a result a triangular plaza is formed on the south-west corner of the plot, where the main gate is located. The entrance plaza is designed to give a generous space for the intense traffic of students and parents in school hours, but, especially in the evenings, it is also effectively a new active space open for public use.
A large stair connects the street with the grades of the sports field, allowing the facility to operate as a proper professional district-level stadium with a covered seats capacity for more than 3,000 spectators. The design of the public circulation includes the plan for a future addition of a pedestrian bridge that would create a direct connection between the stadium and the park.

Mediating the extreme density

Futian Campus is a boarding school for a community of 3,000 students with a GFA of 120,000 m2 on a plot area of 41,000 m2. The project started as a renovation of an existing school, but the original floor area had to be quadrupled, making any preservation strategy impossible. With such numbers, the fulfilment of optimal solar conditions, proper natural ventilation, fire safety and other strict normative requirements was already a big achievement, but the most challenging design goal was to mitigate the sense of oppression that such high density could easily generate. For this scope, reMIX’s strategy focused on two main principles: maximizing porosity and “multiplying grounds”.
Achieving a high porosity, through the insertion of voids of different sizes both on the vertical axis (courtyards) and on the horizontal axis (covered terraces) is not only a valid design strategy to adapt to sub-tropical climatic conditions where natural ventilation is crucial, but it is also a way of creating new semi-outdoor spaces that operate at the human scale and help break down the imposing monumentality of the overall massing.
On a similar line, by “multiplying grounds” the massing process aims at creating as many active surfaces as possible, splitting the building volumes and displacing them on different interconnected levels. It is a spatial strategy that generates a distributed network of ever changing outdoor spaces and nodal filters through a large variety of connections and typologies of enclosure, smoothening up the transition between the landscape and the buildings.

The loop: much more than a circulation system

The starting point in the design of the loop was a practical solution to a very challenging issue: 3,000 students live in a dorm building that reaches 13 floors of height and every morning they all need to move at once to reach their respective classrooms. How can one make such massive flow happen without heavily relying on elevators, not a feasible option for a school? The solution came from splitting up the volume of the dorms to create a public platform on the 9th floor that overviews the whole campus and connects to all the teaching towers on the 6th and 7th floor, through a system of bridges and stepped roofs. By splitting the high-rise buildings into two low-rise horizontal halves, this new elevated path cuts vertical movements by half, allowing students living or studying in the higher floors to move across the whole campus without the need of going up and down infinite flies of stairs.
The loop, though, is not just a circulation system and it is certainly not driven only by efficiency, in fact none of the connections is straight nor follows shortest-walk principles. It is rather a three-dimensional combination of diverse social spaces (seating areas, open air classrooms, amphitheatres, roof gardens, etc.) that are designed to promote curiosity and inspire spontaneous activities and exchanges between students, recreating in a way all the interesting informal interactions that occur in the city. In other words, the loop is a meandering “social bend” designed to organize the campus life, privileging diverse individual experiences in spite of social segregation.

An ecological campus

Futian campus is located along a very important corridor for migratory birds. In the old school, during the migration season, students could observe big flocks of birds resting on the grass of the sports field - one of the reason why the competition brief asked for a grass football pitch. The new massing of the campus degrading towards the park makes it a bird friendly eco-system.
While the multiple courtyards and gardens on the podium are designed to address storm water management strategies and human-related needs, the green roofs of the teaching towers are mainly designed for the birds.
A three-dimensional system of green spaces creates an interconnected ecological infrastructure. The design of the green system responds to multiple functional goals: food provision for migratory birds, rain gardens and botanical exhibition areas provide environmental benefits as well valuable educational material for the students.



1980 年,深圳设立“经济特区”之时,还只是一个人口仅 30 万的小渔村。漫长的海岸线和与香港毗邻的地理位置,使其具有重要战略意义。这座城市经历了人类历史上最快的城市化进程,仅44年后的今天,城市人口已接近 1800 万。




为了能够在用地紧张的场地上实现设计任务书中的所有功能需求,设计将操场抬升至7.4米的平台之上并靠西侧城市街道放置,如此布局造就了一个与众不同的城市界面:学校沿主干道的边界不再是围墙,而是一个透明而有吸引力的立面,市民可直接从街道进入社会门厅,进而通向操场平台下方的一系列文体设施。朝向城市和校园内部的双门厅设计,使得分时共享可以便捷的发生,却不会与校园内的学生活动相冲突。在周末或者举行特殊活动时,总面积达13600平方米的文体设施(篮球馆、风雨篮球场、排球场、羽毛球场、健身房、游泳池、展览空间以及一个可容纳 1000 人的报告厅)均能对外开放,使学校由封闭的孤岛转变成一个真正向公共开放的市民中心。
为应对地块的不规则形状和局促的入口空间,设计将原本南北方向布置的操场逆时针旋转 15 度,不但可以吸纳不规则用地红线所造成的一系列边角空间,还在场地西南侧形成放大的入口广场和更加宜人开放的公共共享城市界面。操场的旋转使我们还给城市一个近千平方米的入口广场,一经落地即成为周边市民休闲、儿童玩耍运动的活力街区公园。


福田中学在占地约41000平方米的原校址通过重新的校园设计,升级成为一所拥有60个行政班3000名高中生的寄宿制高中——超大的目标总建筑量使得除去田径场外建筑用地上的容积率达到3.87,是普通中学的2-3倍,因此被称为”8+1” 福田新校园行动计划九所学校中的“高密度之王”。在如此极端的高密度状况下,设计要满足日照条件、自然通风、消防安全以及其他严格的规范要求,已然是一项巨大的挑战。但最为挑战性的是,如何才能减少如此高密度校园所产生的压抑感?为此,我们提出“多孔校园”和“多层地面”两个空间策略。

THE LOOP | 空中社交圈:不仅仅是一个交通体系

“THE LOOP”的出发点是解决一个高密度高层校园中这个极具挑战性的问题:3000 名学生在高达13层的宿舍楼和数栋高层教学楼中穿梭,瞬时竖向人流压力如何能得以缓解?电梯自然无法完全解决这个问题。我们提出了空中社交圈的概念:它由串联教学区各建筑的400米环路和宿舍楼200米的架空层共同组成。它不仅在20-30米的高空塑造了一个视野极佳的第二地面,也成为宿舍与教学楼之间的“捷径”。它提供了一种新的交通方式,同时将高层建筑的宿舍楼以中央架空层划分成上下两个多层建筑,形成一个适合垂直校园体系的交通系统。
当然, 空中社交圈远不只是一个高效的交通体系,在规划上不是出于最短路径原则,设计上也不是一个简单的连廊系统,而是一个在教学楼6-7层间上下起伏,由楼梯、坡道、架空层、露天剧场、屋面花园等串联起来的连贯社交空间体系。它连接了校园高区中一系列最为公共的使用功能——教学区灵活教室、露天阶梯教室、宿舍共享学习及健身区等—— 这一系列非正式社交空间和创新启发式的学习空间,鼓励师生之间的交流、共享与碰撞随时随地自然发生。空中社交圈营造了20余处尺度、高低、视野、围合感各不相同的户外和半户外空间,成为学生日常的发现与惊喜的来源——它在超高效的空间体系中提供了适度低效的可能,在超级集体生活中提供了极为必要的个人体验空间。