Zhou Jia Jiao School


The large school is divided into clusters of classrooms, creating family-like units within the student body.

The school design was phase three of the development for Zhou Jia Jiao. The team approached the challenge of designing a school for displaced families by breaking down the traditional school building into garden courtyards surrounded by classrooms. The library, cafeteria, gymnasium and administration buildings overlook a public plaza used for gatherings of the school and community. An internal street connects the individual courtyards that are surrounded by classes of similar-aged students. This stimulates social interaction for the children who primarily grow up without siblings under the Chinese one-child policy. The children in each courtyard grow to become each other’s brothers and sisters. The children care for gardens in the open spaces which are also used for outdoor learning, performance and play areas. This gives the students a sense of ownership and pride for their school and the surrounding environment.


Lucas Gray - Designer (while working at Brearley Architects and Urbanists)


Shanghai, China