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January 9, 2013

TKWA Selected to Design Elementary School in China


Approximately 40,000 square meters (430,000 square feet) in size, the building design includes four levels of above ground classroom, administrative, performance and related educational spaces, plus two underground levels reserved for parking and a multi-purpose gymnasium/athletic complex.

TKWA has been selected as design architect for a major new elementary school project in Beijing, China. When completed, the Zhongguancun No. 3 Elementary School will provide an innovative project based and collaborative learning environment for approximately 2400 students within a highly sustainable urban campus. Ceremonial groundbreaking for the school occurred on December 26, 2012, with construction start in Spring, 2013.

Considered one of the top academic schools in China, Zhongguancun Elementary School currently operates two campuses enrolling more than 6000 students within Beijing’s Haidian District.

In selecting TKWA school representatives sought to create a new school environment that balances traditional teacher-directed, whole-group instruction with flexible, learner-centered work and study spaces. By incorporating project-based and collaborative learning approaches popular in many American school systems the school is seeking to become a model for education reform in China.


The TKWA design for Zhongguancun No. 3 Elementary School features a semi-circular building wrapped around a central courtyard/athletic complex. A Central courtyard, used for ceremonial gathering and athletic activities, forms the cultural and emotional core of campus.

Outdoor terraces connected to classrooms on each level help manage stormwater and provide planting areas for students to learn about plant growth and food production.

Learning Pods and studios will help teachers develop student critical thinking and problem-solving skills. An innovative “School within a School” design divides the building into smaller “neighborhoods” to give a greater sense of identity and pride of ownership among students, faculty, and parents.
posted by: Wayne Reckard
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