Primary school, Mongolia | Конкурс Начальная школа, Монголия

Competition, 2015

The competition brief and aspirations for an engaging and inspiring learning environment that can be enjoyed by all is an important contemporary concern. New buildings can also act as models for good practice and provide a focus for broad engagement by the local community. An important part of this is the creation of a sense of identity, inclusivity and ownership. The design language, organization and construction detail for this new school building have been carefully considered such that a 'model' layout can be adapted, extended or indeed 'distorted' as shown here, without losing design quality as a result of a particular set of circumstances.

Equally a robust and flexible approach to construction and detailing, using standard and readily available components and materials takes the constraints of material availability and budget as positive factors in the generation and resolution of the design. Importantly such an approach also means that simple details can be used effectively to achieve a high environmental performance; for example very low rates of air leakages and ventilation control.

The external envelope of the school building is formed using commonly available, mass produced engineering bricks laid in a way to create a rich and painted surface texture. At the building corners, the entrance and points that are regularly touched by visitors this surface becomes flat. In contrast to the rich geometric texture of the wall surfaces all proprietary windows, doors and cills are brilliant white. The deep and protective roof coping is formed by zinc panels of varying widths and detailed as a wrapping over the wall, with an alternating seam arrangement creating a layered pattern.

The internal spaces express the method of construction in a clear and simple manner by exposing the structural frame with painted blockwork infill to give a neutral and legible environment. Investment is then made on key surfaces and finishes such as the richly coloured and patterned tiled floor to classrooms, acoustic notice boards applied to the radial storage walls or the acoustic curtain in the sports hall storage spaces.

View of the 1:50 showing the relationship between new and existing school buildings

View of the multi-functional sports hall

Illustrative construction and study section

View of the 1:50 showing the relationship between new and existing school buildings

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