RMJM designs major Chinese academy
The firm was appointed to design the ‘Public Academy’ in the Du Shu Hu higher education district of the city by the Suzhou Industrial Park Education Development Investment Co. Ltd. The aim is to provide the most sophisticated facilities in the country for nurturing a future generation of entrepreneurs. Suzhou has the second highest GDP per capita of all China’s 659 cities, trailing only nearby Shanghai, and is famed for its focus on education. The province of Jiangsu, in which Suzhou is located, has the largest number of higher education institutions in the country with 105 universities and colleges and an annual enrolment of around a million students.Strata, RMJM’s landscape design team in Hong Kong, was instrumental in securing the project and will now work on developing the scheme post-competition.The design takes the best elements from world-class education models in the USA and UK while also taking into account the physical environment and social culture of Suzhou – which is celebrated for its meticulously designed walled gardens, canal-ordered townscape and traditional visual and literary arts. The 12ha campus, which is expected to be completed in 2012, will also offer sporting and recreation facilities for the wider community, including public gardens.