Journeys AND destination, not just destinations:
BAU569 Nanjing Youfu West Street Primary School

Jiangning District, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China



Architecture, Interior Architecture and Landscape Architecture




Jiangning District, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China




Completed in 2018


Nanjing Qinhuai Construction Development Co., Ltd.


36-class 6-year primary school with teaching building, administrative offices, library, multi-function hall, canteen, gym, dormitory, outdoor stadium, etc.

Journeys AND destination, not just destinations:
Youfu Primary School, Shang Qing Huai, Jiaxing, Nanjing


Situated amongst the dynamic south periphery of Nanjing and close to the new Shang Qing Huai Metro station, the site abuts a small wetland to the north. This primary school will serve an emerging high-density housing district in the area.

(not enough) space and time

Within the usual Urban Planning objectives of maximum density, combined with strict education department design regulations, the opportunity to create an appropriate and responsive architecture is dramatically reduced. School buildings of monotonous repetition in endless arrays of parallel buildings are often the result.
While it is the responsibility of planners to determine appropriate sizes of school sites to meet projected population requirements, it is quite common for these projections to significantly rise during a district’s 10-20 year-long emergence. Without a corresponding increase in land reserved for schools, each school is required to accommodate more classes. Over-development of the site is the outcome. BAU’s first position is to push back against this over densification. When this fails BAU explore ways of to manipulate the program to, in effect, increase the site area. The alternative – changing a province’s education regulations, is a hurdle set to high.
Answering the brief, and adding BAU’s agenda for expanding upon it, has to happen within the usual extraordinarily tight deadlines for all phases of design.

beyond the brief

The project meets all the Jiangsu Province regulations, from sun access to all standard classrooms, to maximizing distances between buildings from noisy programs.
However, this project also goes beyond the brief in many ways. The school is seen as an assemblage of parts following the strict codes, but, these parts are strung together with circulation spaces that go far beyond regulations, providing generous and surprising spaces for play, large and small gatherings, and informal learning in the form of events and exhibitions.

making a larger site

By placing communal facilities at ground level and then covering them with a roof terrace, BAU replaces the site covered by these facilities with a new public space ready to be the new site for the remainder of the programs – in effect increasing the size of the site, by the area of the communal facilities.

learning form commercial strips and arcades

Learning from the linear urban typologies of commercial strips and arcades, the communal parts of the program are located at the ends of two circulation routes, a linear verandah at ground floor, and a linear terrace at second floor. It is interesting to note that these spaces were not included in the brief.
The drop-off area, reception, and the library are located at the street end of these circulation spaces, and the gym and cafeteria are located at the wetlands end– becoming the attractors, between which the remaining school programs are located.

To the west of the verandah and the terrace are the sports grounds, football ground, athletics track and basketball courts. To the east, the remaining programs are strung out between communal programs: from the entry plaza; entry hall and grand stair, with auditorium under and library above; via the three classroom wings and specialty classrooms and teacher’s room; to the canteen on ground and sports hall and gym on upper floor.

The verandah stretches along the buildings, running beneath seating stands, and provides shelter and a place to stay in a playful zigzagging connective space. The terrace and the verandah both connect regularly to a parallel secondary circulation space seen as an arcade.

The terrace becomes the main outdoor circulation space, with links to the second floor internal street and becomes an vantage point from which to view the sportsgrounds, landscape and the amphitheatre-stairs which cascade to the ground level giving students places to spend their breaks, play, or watch the sports and activities.


articulations and memories
It has been argued that place is space with memoires attached. It has also been argued that without articulation memories can’t be attached. So place is more likely to occur in well articulated space. Consequently, BAU have adopted a number of strategies to ensure meaningful articulation to the program.

The three classroom wings reach out to gain southern aspect. They consist of double-loaded corridors, with academic classrooms to the south and science rooms, bathrooms, stair and services to the north. The ground floor classrooms open to courtyards with a sheltered verandah space. Here the students can gather from rain or seek shade.

The school’s busiest staircases are places within themselves, expressive elements overlooking the courtyards. The courtyards are individualised with varied landscapes and different shades of brick cladding.
Five pavilions project from the long western front of the building. Playful and iconic they break down the scale of this large project, articulate space and enable place-making, and provide programs that ensure the circulation spaces are full of activity.
The library stands on columns above the entry hall, and becomes an icon for the school. A grand stair provides a visual and spatial connection between levels and fills the space with a habitable topography. Beneath the stair the formal theatre is visible but not a barrier to the social activity in the foyer.
At the other end of the linear circulation, the gym, with its saw-tooth also stands on columns, and with a roof profile reflecting the once industrial local skyline, it also becomes an icon for the school.
As a respite from all the school activity, the canteen overlooks the small wetland at the rear of the site. Similarly, the teacher’s dormitories are located in a quiet NE corner of the site, providing the teachers with an escape from the activities of the school.
Finally, vehicular circulation is located away from main entry at the north-west corner of the site. This enables the entire school and sports ground area to be car free and safe for the children.

spirit of place

Meeting the client’s demand for a sense of continuity with Nanjing is achieved via a number of strategies: the use of traditional burnt grey brick cladding; the inclusion of five pavilions scaled to the size of the pre-existing village buildings of the area; and the incorporation of formal references to the recently demolished factories of the district.
Sitting amongst the new generic high-rise apartment projects this sophisticated articulated public school building provides a recognisable core from which a new community can grow.

colour – playful and useful

Colour is utilised to provide identity and orientation to the year levels on each floor. Each floor has a palette of either blues, greens or yellows. The gym and canteen complex utilise red.
Horizontal eaves and arrays of coloured vertical fins to the east and west provide sun protection in one of the hottest cities of the country.


The landscape develops around the theme of Qi Qiao Ban, the Chinese game of blocks from which figures are composed. A playful infrastructure of pavement lines further provides a framework for infinite games.
An undulating perimeter fence morphs along its length to provide seating and shelter. As with traditional Chinese gardens this enables the site boundaries to become a positive active place. Framed viewing through slot windows enables passers-by a take on the school activity.

small town not a big building

Seeing this primary school as a small town and not as big building, brings firmness commodity and delight to this new learning teaching environment.

Private Landscapes






Public Landscapes



Structures & Pavillions











Urban Design








Mixed Use









































an excessive minimalism:
BAU478-A U-Park Incubator, Shang Qing Huai, Nanjing

more Piazza Navona than Levittown
BAU618 Tianyou Experimental Primary School and Kindergarten, Suzhou

clarity and unpredictable adjacencies:
BAU119 Jinqiao Sports & Leisure Centre

landscape, urbanity, networks, the suitcase, and the paper-bag:
BAU592 Qingpu Zhaoxiang Sports Park, Supermarket + Hotel

more than a frozen moment:
BAU659 ZOOM OASIS, Linkong Perimeter Super Block

look! up in the sky!
BAU210 Shanghai Hongxuan Office Building

Made in China, no question – Invented in China, of course:
BAU588 You-Du R+D Development, Jinqiao, Shanghai

a hybrid infrastructure:
BAU679 Yuandang Bridge

large plains, small grains, and the in-between:
BAU686 Longgang Arts Centre, Shenzhen

on reflection:
BAU674 Qingpu Performing Arts Centre

Place, typologies, programs, and public life:

more than just a technopolis:
BAU206 Hangzhou Xiasha New City Centre

a second network embracing history, smalllness, and complexity:
BAU193 Chengdu West New District

a park for everyone and everyone in their park:
BAU189 Hongqiao Park

disorder – not randonmness but beyond order:
BAU182 Chengdu East Village

mosaics of teaching, networks of learning:
BAU149 Huai’an Tertiary Education District

walled cities within a walled city:
BAU147 Xi’an High-Tech Precinct CBD

co-existence without incompatibility:
BAU138 Jiangxi Xinyu Networks City

space-time conflict:
BAU544 Shanghai University Campus

clarity and unpredictable adjacencies:
BAU119 Jinqiao Sports & Leisure Centre

Journeys AND destination, not just destinations:
BAU569 Nanjing Youfu West Street Primary School

continuous loops and internal courts:
BAU603 Suzhou kindergarten no. 3

weaving and stitching:
BAU616 Jiangyin Greenway Loop (stage 1. Eastern Segment)

a constructed and cultured topography:
BAU269 Jindi Green Land Club

it takes a village to educate a child:
BAU602 Suzhou Sci-tech City Xizhu Kindergarten

city typologies, cultural traditions, contemporary theories, and spaceships:
BAU600 Shanghai Qingpu Newtown 30-class Primary School

artificial plateau:building more site:
BAU599 Shanghai Qingpu Newtown 24-Class Junior High school

it is the least we could do: minimalism in an environment of expressionism
BAU584 Hangzhou Tonglu Office Building

more Piazza Navona than Levittown
BAU618 Tianyou Experimental Primary School and Kindergarten, Suzhou

classrooms AND the in-between: teaching and learning beyond the classroom
BAU610 Taizhou School

other institutions for this new century:
BAU604 Qingpu District People’s Court

building the unfinished:
BAU003M The Victorian Pride Centre

minimal AND maximal:
BAU583 Exhibition Pavilion Gaochun, Nanjing

small in scale large in monumentality:
BAU027 Wyndham Mausoleum

multiple rooms of difference:
BAU253 Shanghai Qingpu Renheng Yunjie Entrance Garden

active cultural edges, passive natural centres:
BAU402 Shanghai Qingpu Qin Yuan Lake Park

intimate, cool, sheltered and lively:
BAU268 Xinqiao Commercial Street + Shop Housing

formal teaching and informal learning:
BAU540 Gaochun New District Kindergaten to Year Nine School

an exercise in robustness:
BAU333 Jiangyin Huifu Office Tower

effortless complexity: learning from water-town:
BAU222-2 Shanghai Qingpu Zhujiajiao Commercial

no longer but not only:
BAU213-3 Jindi Yunhu Market

actualizing the virtual:
BAU 213-2 Jindi Yunhu Sports and Activity Center

geometry, history, art, craft, iconography, and pragmatics: an exploration of intention, coding, narrative, and meaning
BAU021 Olinda Green + Public WC

there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in:
BAU015 Jan Juc House, Victoria, Australia

BAU009 house in the sky

surreal adjacencies:
BAU019 Marymount Residence, Guest Accommodation, Stable + Office

mini-city of culture:
BAU590 Nanjing Pukou Haiqiao Community Service Center

keeping a low profile:
BAU 214 Suzhou Qingshan Hotel Phase I

positive space, human scale, and a blue-green net:
BAU213-1 Jindi Yunhu Housing

dis-integrated guest houses :
BAU495 Pine Pillow Retreat

don’t look at me, don’t look at me:
BAU436 Nanjing Jiangning Demonstration Kindergarten

new buildings, old topography:
BAU424 Suzhou Qingshan Hotel Phase 2

defining the perimeter, programming the centre, inhabiting them both:
BAU238 Town Plaza, Xinqiao, Jiangyin

turning outside-in:
BAU199-2 Wuxi Fudi Forte Parktown Sales Pavilion

beyond PODS, networks, and nodes:
BAU552 Chengbei Urban Design project, Nanjing

podium and bill(ding)board:
BAU547 Nanjing Yaxi Town Central Hospital

inner sanctuary, outer crust:
BAU546 Nanjing Gaochun Qiqiao Hospital

an excessive minimalism:
BAU478-A U-Park Incubator, Shang Qing Huai, Nanjing

a plane of reference:
BAU474 Nanjing Zijin Gaochun Science and Technology City

rips in the fabric by place:
BAU461 Nanjing Tangshan Tourist Resort South District

other ideas of hospital:
BAU446 Fuding Hospital

architecture AND terrain:
BAU445 Suzhou Hi-tech District Cultural Center

crust: in-between and on the edge
BAU426 Shaoxing Jianhu Keyan Tourist Resort Planning

eco urbanism:
BAU425 Chongqing Eco Valley City

BAU348 Kunshan Hyper Complex

beyond the picturesque:
BAU347 Kunshan White Pagoda Park

don’t just re-use the typology, improve it!
BAU310 Hangzhou Changbanxiang Housing

building a community not just housing:
BAU302 Shanghai Ludi Baoshan

upside down program – ‘private’ circulation becoming ‘public’ circulation:
BAU254 Shanghai Wai Gao Qiao Culture Centre

extra-large private space as public space:
BAU199 Parktown, Housing, Fudi Forte, Wuxi

BAU197 Jindi Sanlin Pavilion

BAU191 Wuhan Cuiwei Housing

urban camouflage:
BAU227 Hangzhou Sports Centre

the resort at the end of the yellow dirt road:
BAU543 Emerald Village at Soul Bay

critical regionalism and abstraction:
BAU487 Nanjing Yaxi Citta-Slow

hospital for the ill, health care for the healthy, aged care for the elderly: BAU469 Zhaoxiang Hospital

tear open the package: BAU247 Qingpu NGS Supermarket

urban sponge:
BAU324 Cixi Commercial and Culture Center

lyrical islands in pragmatic seas:
BAU530-1 Nanjing Gaochun Transport Interchange – Stage One

fractured enormity:
BAU281 Chongqing Huarun

ring roads AND peripheral parks:
BAU243 Shanghai Ring Park

simple box OR 3 points in space – you choose:
BAU204-2 Ningbo Wanda Office

many utopias:
BAU129 Xinhu Pearl City Housing Development

a close family:
BAU125 Zhejiang Power Company HQ

stretching, squeezing, bending, trimming:
BAU550 Huanglong Xigu Urban Design

BOTH networks AND objects:
BAU497 Wyndham Cove Eco Sub-urb

ethics, democracy, difference:
BAU470 Towards a Socially Sustainable Canberra

warp and woof:
BAU460 Jingzhou Museum

sustainable technologies for clean living:
BAU396 Nanjing Residential

network of learning:
BAU341 Yushanwan School

not in galleries, but a way of seeing:
BAU338 Jingqiao Ramp Restaurant

shopping sandwich:
BAU321 Jiangyin Wuxing Commercial Centre

celebrating the collective, the intimate, the sustainable, and the local:
BAU312 Suzhou School

21st century Ponte Vecchio:
BAU287 Shanghai 2010 World Expo Bridge

antidote: not another ghetto city:
BAU285 Chengdu North Central

at last …finally …some diversity:
BAU282 Jindi Sanlin Office

recycling and beyond
BAU264 Shanghai Jiashan Market

an assemblage of difference:
BAU256 Shanghai Hongqiao Performing Arts Center

streets as shelters, bars as amphitheaters, landscapes as playgrounds:
BAU235 Jinqiao Community Bars

reduce, reuse, recycle:
BAU220 Shanghai Sculpture Space

binary oppositions defining a field of operation – all we wanted was a park:
BAU122 Xiamen International Exhibition Centre

the hotel as microcosm of the city:
BAU018 Marque Hotel

…very strange:
BAU016 Penny Lane

the beautiful and the extraordinary:
BAU013 Hopetoun Bush Resort

a dynamic yet stable vehicle:
BAU510 Suzhou Tram Co. Headquarters

BAU486A Docklands Park, Yangtze River, Jiangyin

innovation both inside and out:
BAU433 Zhangjing Nobel Lake Park & Network

exquisite corpse
BAU416 Genetic City Caofeidian

landscape becomes urban design becomes architecture:
BAU390 Duolan Dong Dong Mixed Use Complex

BAU386 Symbiotic City

repetition and difference:
BAU384 Kunshan Pavilions

no longer drowning – waving:
BAU339-2&3 Suzhou Creek Promenade

yet another point of view:
BAU339-1 Suzhou Creek Serpentine Park

ordinary not heroic, symbolic not monumental:
BAU318 Hangzhou Xiaoshan Government Headquarters

woven threads:
BAU234 Jiangyin Arbour Park

private precincts, public networks:
BAU226 Pudong Yangjing

creative networks:
BAU224 Chengdu Fenghuangshan

maximize commuication and cross fertilization:
BAU208 Linping New City Centre