ZIGZAG Elementary School

SAKO Architects‘ design of ZIGZAG Elementary School features zigzag structures with diverse colors, connected by bridges, creating 32 unique spaces under a large communal roof.

  • area / size 370,827 sqft
  • Completed 2012
  • Location Tianjin, China,
  • The elementary school consists of eight buildings that house the regular and special classrooms.

    These buildings are divided into four levels and arranged in a zigzag pattern. To connect the classrooms across the corridors, twelve bridges are suspended at various angles between the facing structures.

    Each building and each floor has a different color, creating 32 distinct places with diverse combinations. This adds variety and identity to the school architecture, like the 32 team colors.

    The spaces between the buildings are covered with a single large roof, forming a large communal area with a five-story atrium that is semi-indoor.

    The atrium is well adapted to the local climate, which varies from over 40 degrees Celsius in summer to below -15 degrees Celsius in winter. The atrium has a long and narrow shape, but the zigzag arrangement of the buildings creates a sense of centrality and unity.

    During recess, children move through the atrium in groups, filling the space with their lively voices.

    Design: SAKO Architects
    Photography: Misae Hiromatsu