Cattlefield Village Primary School is in a mountainous region of western Yunnan Province, China. The original school was built in 2010, in partnership with KPMG foundation, NGO’s and local government. It serves students from seven local villages, with the furthest village a 90-minute walk from the site.
Together with compulsory education, access to decent hygiene is a critical issue in this context. The existing toilet and shower block were in poor condition, and the shower block was unwelcoming and rarely used.
With charity partners providing programmes that teach the importance of hygiene, the design brief was to provide better facilities for the students to develop a washing habit, which can last throughout their lives. The architecture aims to be both sensitive to its origin and engaging to its users, and at the same time work effectively within the budget of a charitable project.
In addition to the local bricks, the main finishes are pebbledash and tiles, to protect the building exterior. On the interior, wet areas are tiled, using basic colours to differentiate the sexes. Chosen materials are readily available in the region and use methods familiar to the local contractors. As well as helping to keep the construction costs low, it also makes the building easier to maintain in the long-term.
The regional subtropical climate is often described as ‘four seasons of spring’. Due to the altitude, there is a wide temperature range between day and night, particularly during winter. Taking this into consideration, the glazed, south-facing façade of the shower floor captures the daytime sun, warming the room for evening ablutions. Solar water panels preheat the hot water, and solar chimneys on the roof help to ventilate the toilets. With the stacked programme, the shower water is channelled through the urinal in the boy’s toilet, as both a supplementary flushing mechanism and for simple operation.