Winner: Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates
Award: Honor Award for Architecture
As the gateway to Peking University’s Shenzhen campus, the Transnational School of Law building facilitates innovative ways of study and collaboration in a form that reflects the program’s unique approach to legal education.
Two bars within a triangular site accommodate the school’s mixed academic program and form a centralized, terraced gathering space, or “study cascade,” that links each level through a series of variegated stairs, bleachers, and lounges. Fronting the main campus at five stories, the taller, north-facing bar contains the majority of classrooms, offices and research spaces. The narrow, southern bar, which faces the river and offers views of the mountains, comprises smaller seminar rooms, private offices, and break-out spaces. Throughout, wooden screens form warm, human-scaled enclosures, providing privacy and seating while framing unique viewpoints.
Thematically, the exterior massing communicates “the two sides of the law,” the notion that there are multiple points of view on all legal questions. Relating to the predominant campus character, the north façade utilizes white terracotta elements enlivened by colored terracotta and dark brick. The more “organic” south façade is defined in large part by the glazed form of the study cascade. The façade’s visual harmony reinterprets traditional Chinese, grey slate and brick architecture, articulated as different textures and patterns that take advantage of strong southern light through passive ventilation. Overall, the project promotes social interaction between students and faculty to communicate the school’s global mission to the world, while offering an impressive campus addition.