Xianda College’s new campus on Chongming Island, about an hour north of central Shanghai, both replaces the college’s original city campus and allows for significant growth in anticipation of a student population of twelve thousand. This ground-up residential campus for one of Shanghai’s few private colleges is organized around a new lake and canal that bisect the site.
The college landscape approach pairs formal landscape spaces with a broadly informal naturalistic setting. The pond is the central feature of the campus and is intended to serve as its signature focus while acting as a stunning backdrop to the varied building architecture that surrounds and overlooks it.
Each building defines numerous exterior spaces that act as formal and informal settings for socialization, education and presentation. These spaces are linked to interior functions which at times can spill out into the exterior, thereby linking students and faculty to the campus exterior. These varied outdoor environments will be designed as a family of unique formal gardens, tree groves, shaded plazas and seating areas that are inter-connected and create a network of exterior spaces that will encourage interaction, learning, and recreation.
An important aspect of the pedestrian environment is the restriction of public vehicles to the sequence of gardens and plazas that encircle the pond. Vehicles are directed to a perimeter loop which will create a quiet, safe, pedestrian experience around the pond and encourage free pedestrian flow between buildings and heighten the impression of nature for faculty and students.