Building Form and Massing
The design of the Discovery College campus respects the context and natural environment surrounding the site. There are older residential developments perching on the hilltops to the south and west. The building form steps down towards the sea with a series of open terraces. The intention was to create a building that blends in and harmonizes with the surrounding natural terrain; and minimise the obstruction of sea views enjoyed over many years by our neighbours. In response to requests from residents, significant redesigning of the structure took place in an effort to further reduce the visual impact of the structure.
Building Organisation and Disposition
The school is generally organised into two main blocks in a horse-shoe configuration: a Teaching Block to the north and a Specialist Functions Block that occupies the southern half. The Teaching Block houses all the classrooms, specialist teaching rooms (laboratories and workshops) faculty offices and main administration offices. This accommodation is generally more regular in size and requires more natural day-lighting and ventilation (achieved by the north facing aspect).
The Specialist Functions Block accommodates facilities that are less regular in size, have large volumetric spaces and require long span structure. These spaces include Gymnasium, Sports Hall, Performing Arts Centre, Swimming Pool, Drama Studios etc.
The Heart of the School
To create a sense of place for the students and the staff, it is essential to have a main focus area within the school where activities take place around it. An internal courtyard has been created at the centre of the building as the “Heart” of the school. This Heart is perceived as a centralised social space for continued learning outside the classroom, conversation, special activities and community events.
The unique roof canopy of Discovery College is the first of its kind in Asia. The lightweight ETFE roof canopy is being used above the structure to provide covered space to courtyards and circulation areas; reject solar heat energy therefore reducing solar heat gains; provide cooler internal courtyard and covered play areas; increase natural air ventilation generating heat differential within central spaces, and increase cool air to internal areas reducing energy consumption for air conditioning. The concept of the roof canopy is analogous to a tree canopy which offers protection from direct sunlight and creates a cooler micro climate shaded area underneath.
The design of the College was recognised in 2009 with a commendation in the Structural Excellence Awards presented by the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers. You can review a summary of the award review, and read a feature article about the facility published in the Hong Kong Building Journal upon the campus’s opening in 2008.