B Campus is an education building in the heart of Shanghai’s high tech district. It strives to blend tech, art and academics. Working on this project enabled us to have a glimpse into what education for tomorrow’s China could look like.
As all things are related to personal experience, we revisited our own education in Belgium and the Netherlands. Where we were educated in the spirit of Aldo van Eyck and Herman Herzberger, influential anti-conformist architects that sought to design for a humanist community.
They looked for every opportunity in their architecture to ‘stage’ opportunities for people to meet ‘by accident’. The structures they designed brightened up the world, created this moment free of convention that allows the new to take form.
We have been shaped in this climate that rejected or at least severely questioned the status quo. It made us want to be architects, to design without a standard, always to ask what before is.
What has changed between the Dutch humanist times and the present is the multiplicity of the program: our society is much faster, more connected, multi-disciplinary. So much more complicated, but also more fluid if that makes sense. Where in the 70’s all the attention lay on the ‘human scale’ rather than the whole.
However, we aim to embrace not only the boldness of the big but also the care for the human scale and the detail that it takes to make the project last in time.
The design of B Campus is a stage of contrasts: Ben Wood designs the building – raised in an American school campus tradition – commissioned by a Chinese organization that is trying to redefine education in today’s society. The result is a campus offering education to a wide range of ages, with a broad diversity of program: from workshop to chamber music hall, from public lecture rooms to company premises, complete with art gallery and libraries.
B Campus won the World Architectural Festival Awards for best education interior in 2018 in Amsterdam. China values experience when starting a new challenge, and we dare to state that the advantage of re-thinking a standard typology is just as valuable.
Client: The Little Bridge
Location: Shanghai, China
Size: 8, 000 sqm
Design Scope: Interior& FFE
Design Principals: Wendy Saunders, Vincent de Graaf
Project Architect: Byungmin Jeon
Design Team: Jiao Yan, Lily Zhu, Patrick Wu, Rachel Wang
FFE Team: Ivan Yu, Liat Goldman, Peichin Lee, Shiwa Tseng, Sowon Lee
Photography: Dirk Weiblen, Johan Sellén, Marc Goodwin