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Ecological Demonstration Primary School



In the poor conditions of China's Loess Plateau region, the design possibility limited by budget and resources is the main challenge of design. The eco-school project in the Maosi village is a prototype. It emphasizes on a scientific and transferable methodology combining phases of investigation, condition analyses, computer simulation experiments, design and field construction. Condition analyses are in the areas of economy & resource for building, climate, and vernacular architecture. The study was further analysed by a series of thermal simulations with software TAS. By filtering and optimizing locally available materials and techniques, it was found that the basic technique, thermal mass of low embodied energy and insulation are the most effective and cost effective solution.

Follow the topography, 10 classrooms were planned at two levels for exposure to sunlight, daylight and natural ventilation. Landscaping further helps to create a desirable campus ambience for children. The classroom form is derived from local traditional houses with timber structure so as to be constructed easily by villagers. Thermal mass, roof insulation and double glazing are employed. Most building materials are sourced in or around the site. The new classrooms are cheaper than local conventional buildings, and they have a far better environmental performance. The project illustrates to the locals a feasible way, in which by selectively employing their familiar techniques and materials they can easily build for themselves their most effective and affordable ecological buildings.


Location: Maosi Village, Xiansheng Town, Qingyang City, Gansu Province, China

Date: 2003-2007

Site area: 0.76 hectares

Gross floor area: 1,006 m2

Building type: education


Project architects and key team members: Edward NG, MU Jun

Sponsor: Kadoorie Farm Charitable Foundation (KCCF)


Click to view more photos and drawings


Research and publication:

- MU Jun.(2006).Experimental studies thermally of ecological building in Loess Plateau areas of China.M.Phil.,The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.

- Edward NG, MU Jun.(2008).Maosi Ecological Demonstration Primary School.World Architecture,217,34-43.


-Special Architectural Award - Jury's Special Award, HKIA Annual Awards 2009, Hong Kong

-Top 25 of 500, AR Emerging Architecture 2009 International Design Competition Awards, Architectural Review, UK

-Innovation Award, UNESCO Asia Pacific Heritage Awards 2009 (Heritage Awards Jury Commendation for Innovation)

-RIBA International Awards 2009, Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), UK

-Year Grand Award of the China Architectural Media Awards 2008

-Highly Commended in the World Architectural Festival (WAF) Awards 2008, Barcelona, Spain

-Grand Award of the Design for Asia (DFA) Awards 2008, Hong Kong Design Centre (HKDC)

-Sustainability Award of the Design for Asia (DFA) Awards 2008, Hong Kong Design Centre (HKDC)

-Gold Award of the Design for Asia (DFA) Awards 2008, Hong Kong Design Centre (HKDC)

-New Buildings – Asia Pacific, Institutional/Community Project Grand Award of the Green Building Award 2010, Hong Kong Green Building Council (HKGBC)