▲ “Resonance Valley” uses elegant blue as the primary color to echo the school emblem.
Do you like music class? Music class offers a break from the stressful studies in junior and senior high schools, in which students can put aside numbers and writings to indulge in melodies and be healed and inspired by art. Wouldn’t it be even better if the classroom could also be aesthetic to complement what the students hear with what they see? New Taipei City Kuang Jen Catholic High School, which has long focused on music education, has such an aesthetic music classroom—“Resonance Valley.”
▲ “Resonance Valley” combines sufficient rehearsing/performing space with portable furniture to satisfy various user needs.
Before | When Functional Space Gradually Becomes Unqualified
Founded back in 1967, Kuang Jen Catholic High School is a school with some history and now faces the problem of outdated facilities. “Resonance Valley” was previously a music classroom, which was used for junior high school music class and senior high school choral rehearsal, observation, and performance.
Functionality was the sole consideration of the original teaching space—classroom furniture (the most uncomfortable ones), choir risers, and conventional cupboards; however, after long-term use, these most basic facilities had also lost their only functionalities due to ageing. Moreover, with light coming in from three sides, the classroom had always suffered from sun exposure in the afternoon, as well as the constant issue of echoes. In sum, the teaching space was becoming unqualified.
▲ Old facilities in the music classroom before transformation.
▲ The choral risers were also a safety concern due to ageing.
▲ Entrance comparison before and after the transformation. The new entrance has been pushed outward to not only accommodate the ramp, but also provide a buffer space for students to calm down upon entering.
After | Integrated Teaching Space that is both Inclusive and Flexible
Guided by the “Design Movement on Campus” project supervised by Ministry of Education and organized by Taiwan Design Research Institute, the transformation of the music classroom was executed by CloudForm Laboratory. To satisfy the diverse purposes of the classroom, the design team gradually simplified the design after back-and-forth discussions and amendments, creating a classroom with both aesthetics and practicality through “unchanged” spatial structure and “ever-changing” components.
▲ The sign at the entrance of “Resonance Valley” is the proud work of the designer, using the image of speakers to echo the meaning of resonance.
▲ Full view of the entrance from the innermost corner of the classroom.
Unchanged Structure: Rhythmic Landscape Stairs that Break Conventions
Before really entering the room, you will pass by a narrow ramp that intricately echoes the process of settling and calming down before entering an auditorium. What follows is the classroom in blue and orange colors with wooden floor, where a ring of landscape stairs along the walls wraps around a spacious sunken platform, breaking the old spatial layout and reorganizing the functions of the classroom.
The north-facing stairs are choir risers; to the south, a teaching podium is installed; the center of the room accommodates desks and chairs and can also be used as the stage for performances. The stairs around the room are naturally audience seats, giving the space flexibility and versatility.
▲ Landscape stairs offer the space diverse possibilities.
▲ General class.
▲ Choral rehearsal.
▲ Band performance.
Ever-Changing Usages: Versatile Components
In addition to the basic structure that accommodates different usages, the classroom’s flexible and versatile facilities are the real highlight of the design. Four curtains have been installed inside the classroom—dark blue shading curtains on windows on both sides, as well as two tracks of curtains in cool and warm color tones at the center that can be adjusted for different use scenarios into the front curtain and backdrop; these curtains are also made of sound-absorbing material.
Several sets of acoustic panels are suspended on the walls that can also transform into classroom desks—the panels can be taken off the walls, flipped around with the sound-absorbing side facing down, and unfolded into stainless-steel desks. Moreover, the panels can also be used as portable writing pads.
▲ Four curtains in the classroom, including two shading curtains, and two stage curtains.
▲ Acoustic panels usually stored on the walls can transform into classroom furniture; the panel is wooden acoustic board on one side and stainless-steel board on the other.
▲ Simple yet sturdy MUJI stools are chosen as classroom chairs; when stored on the walls, the stools from a rhythmic acoustic structure.