French International School of Hong Kong, Tseung Kwan O Campus

A new campus is needed to accommodate 1,050 primary and middle school students, whereas an open villa is required for the primary school. Besides, the school should stand as a model of “Green school”, showcasing the most efficient sustainable strategies and as an eco-project involving students and teachers.

The designers merged the traditionally enclosed classrooms and corridors together in a series of large open spaces called Villas in the primary school section. The Villas are more domestic than institutional in character. Large full-height sliding glass doors allow the teachers to open up their classes to each other and to a shared central space called the Agora where group activities unfold. Classes from both streams of the school (French and International) can then collaborate together.

The campus sets an example in sustainability. The building form and the façade designs are optimized to respond to the local climate and to decrease energy consumption and increase comfort by passive means.

Natural vegetation is crucial to the green function. Forty-two trees, a plant covered perimeter fence, multi-storey hanging gardens and a 550-square-metre botanical garden planted with native South Chinese vegetation are among the green spaces that establish the school as a lush garden. As the vegetation improves air quality within the urban setting, ventilation systems utilize natural breezes to circulate fresh air through the building and reduce reliance on air-conditioning. Students are able to gain hands-on experience with the region’s natural vegetation, fostering a sense of environmental stewardship and a practical education in sustainability.

All the classrooms are arranged to face north and south to avoid the blazing sunlight and heat from east and west, and the deep brise-soleil shades the façades to minimise solar heat gains. The light is generous and homogenous throughout the day. The brise-soleil entirely removes the need for blinds or curtains and enables a clearer glass to be used, thus providing a more natural colour of daylight in interior spaces.

High standard materials with non-toxic properties were expansively used in the project. Priority was given to materials and finishes with low carbon footprint such as products of non-petrochemical origin (rubber floor instead of vinyl floor, mineral paint instead of acrylic paint), recyclable materials (bamboo, rubber, wool fabrics) and locally available and sourced materials (bamboo, glazing). Most materials were sourced from Europe to meet high European norms and standards.

The key aspect of this project was a high degree of prefabrication (the façades) which increased the overall execution quality and limited the on-site activity. Yet, such outstanding design of the campus was delivered within a short construction period of 18 months only to final handover and operation, supporting its mission of a forward-thinking, international education.

Project Name: French International School of Hong Kong, Tseung Kwan O Campus
Location: Tseung Kwan O, Hong Kong
Completion Date: September 2018
Site Area: 8,200 square metres
Gross Floor Area: 19,600 square metres
Building Height: 5 storeys; 28 metres
Number of Rooms/Units: 141
Client/Owner: French International School of Hong Kong
Authorised Person: AGC Design
Architecture Firm: Henning Larsen Hong Kong
Civil & Structural Engineer: WSP
Mechanical & Electrical Engineer: WSP
Quantity Surveyor: RLB
Lighting Consultant: Lichtvision
Landscape Architect: Bassinet Turquin Paysage, Aecom
Green Building Consultant: Henning Larsen Sustainability, WSP
Main Contractor: Paul Y Builders
Images: Philippe Ruault