The primary design objectives for this environmentally-friendly school for disabled children were to deliver a high-quality building that would uplift the self-esteem of its students and that would be accepted by the surrounding neighbourhood.
Another overriding concern was user friendliness – specifically, minimising vertical circulation for physically disabled students. All classrooms and student function rooms were therefore placed on the ground and first floors, while gradual, easily-accessible paths encircle the building. Ramps were strategically located at the centre of the buildings to facilitate convenient and easy movement between floors with minimum travel distance. Different colours were also assigned to the various functional spaces for clear identification for students and users, with continuous colour bands along the upper and lower parts of rooms’ external walls.
To create a comforting and comfortable ambience, a “homelike” design concept was used to encourage students boarding at the school to eat, study, relax, and sleep together in the same areas. The dining area, TV and common rooms, pantry, and bedrooms are all grouped together, aiming to promote interactions among students. These areas are complemented by large courtyards and gardens, providing a healthy outdoor environment for the students and maximising sunlight.
Sustainability-wise, extensive green roofs were provided, which also act as a visual buffer for neighbouring high rise buildings – delivering a total green coverage of over 50%. These green roofs provide thermal insulation to the rooms below and mitigate the urban heat island effect, while large internal landscaped courtyards provide daylight and natural ventilation throughout the building. The integrated photovoltaic system also produces supplementary power supply and provides shade to covered areas.