To see the tops of most buildings in the city, you have to tilt your head back. Way back. And squint. But within the glass and concrete jungle you can sometimes find an actual one- the French International School of Hong Kong is one such place.
The building occupies a small plot of land along the city’s eastern edge, rising just four stories to cut an eye-catching profile amidst the surrounding towers. The multicolored ceramic façade of the gym, visible from the campus’ entry, presents a vibrant face reflective of the forward-thinking nature within. Angled pilotis painted in jaunty primaries lift the building from the ground; students run amok in the cool shade underneath.
A level up, one finds the classrooms—high, day lit spaces called “villas” that can each subdivide into five smaller classrooms. Each villa module gathers around an “agora”, a shared forum for learning and activity. In opening up the space, students are given the opportunity to blend the bilingual learning streams, creating new currents of interaction.
The region’s subtropical climate, coupled with an unflinching sun, renders the outdoors both lush and stifling for much of the year. To moderate the impact of the temperature indoors, airy passages abound in the school, channeling the warm winds to bring a constant flow of air inside. The building’s center features a series of split-level platforms that connect the modules across plan and section and bring the outdoors into even the building’s uppermost floors.
Filleted brises-soleil structures adorn the main building’s north and south facades, protecting learning spaces from the day’s harshest sun. In a small annex to the south, a façade of deep ceramic-clad window wells bathes the gym in watery reds, yellows, and blues.