‘Edugreen’: Architecture Competition seeks ideas and projects
Challenge to design a school infused with nature held by UNI

5 min readApr 30, 2022
Fig: 1 — Technology, urbanization, and nature are always in a constant tussle in the urban environment.


Nature and humans have never been separate entities up until a few centuries ago. It has been a mutually codependent existence with lifestyles and cultures shaped to suit our surroundings. They provide us with every form required for life sustenance and shelter.

But over the years, this balance has been shaken due to improper prioritization between what needs to be protected, costing years’ worth of preservation and ways of life that are more sustainable. And now that it is late, and people realize the importance of nature, they are taking steps to protect and engage in the process. But with the constant presence of technology in our lives, it becomes hard to spread the sense of the importance of nature and sustainable living. It took a century of incomplete idea propagation that led to this imbalance and it will take more than a century for it to be restored.

But what if the ideas of coexistence between nature and humans were promoted and ingrained in the minds of the newer and more absorbent generation, changing the future?

Fig: 2 — Children around the world are overwhelmed with digital platforms and play.


We all know the effects nature and green have on humans. They are known to be calming and stress relieving. But in kids, this sense is heightened and is shown to be more effective as is any other world experience for them.

In 1980, a Harvard biologist coined the term Biophilia to name the tendency of humans to be attracted to nature instinctively. But the trend is changing nowadays, where kids barely get out of their homes to go outside, termed as nature deficit disorder. This can be consequential to the increasing influence of technology, making one think that this might make them less inclined towards protecting and being sensitive to nature.

As tech learning is common, the attention of children must be directed to outdoor experiences as well to improve their physical, emotional, and mental well-being. The rapid growth of technology and cities with urbanization has led to a deficit of socio-friendly spaces that are infused with nature.

How can values of growth along with a balance between nature and the man-made environment be inculcated in our young, future generation?

Fig: 3 — A lot of time is spent in learning institutes and this opportunity can be taken advantage of to restore the connection with nature.

How can education be transformed in today’s world?

The existence of nature-infused schools addresses concerns both parents and the world have, with regards to the fact that young adults are part of the future generation and they can be instilled with an affinity towards nature from an early age.

Brief: The architecture competition brief calls for a design of a primary school that infuses the principles of Biophilia in the design proposal.

The facility must find a way to efficiently and appropriately lower the veil between the indoors and the green outdoors, making it a more organic space. The building must also adopt more sustainable methods of construction and usage of the school, encouraging the students to understand the importance of nature and train their minds to identify the imbalance now. The facility must be designed to suit its young users, with spaces focused on their ways of using and engaging with elements. Safety in spatial design and physical treatment of elements must be practiced. The competition aims to come up with unique design solutions to provide a comfortable and dynamic environment for the students to learn and grow amidst nature.


  • Biophilia — The infusion of greenery in the design must be in harmony with the nature of spaces and even in closed, open, or semi-open spaces.
  • Environment-friendly — The material palette must be selected consciously keeping in mind the context, local conditions, and safety (with no adverse impacts).
  • Access — The spaces to be barrier-free and inclusive for different users and conducive to distinct teaching methods.
  • Sustainable — Reduce the negative impact of design on the environment, by improving building performance, reducing waste, and ensuring comfort for occupants.


Fig: 4 — Site image

New Zealand is known for its clean environment. It is also rich in its biodiversity, with one-third of its lands protected as reserves. The site is situated far from these riches, amongst its suburban neighborhoods with residences and commercial areas, suitable for the project.

The site is located in Christchurch, New Zealand. The climate is temperate in the city with a population of more than 3 million people and rising. As a result, air pollution is on the rise with climate change and smog that disrupts the everyday life of residents. The area is also prone to earthquakes which cause damage to the city environment. The city is rich with secondary and tertiary institutions that provide quality education.

The site is in the neighborhood of Hornby South with community spots and mixed businesses. The location is in the proximity of residential settlements which makes it suitable to locate this typology.

  • Site area — 4056 sqm
  • Height restrictions — 9 meters
  • Ground coverage — 30%
  • Maximum FAR: 1
  • SetBacks as per CAD plan
  • Coordinates — 43°33'04.6"S 172°30'57.0"E


The primary school is to be designed for enrolling 80 students. The following programmatic outline is the point to begin your design at. You can add more functions and activities in relevance or modify the below design program.

  1. Children: 80 children (Expandable to 100)
  2. Managers/supervisors: 2–3
  3. Educators: 6–8
  4. Support: 4–6 support personnel or more depending on the design.
  5. Services/Security: 4–6 service personnel or more depending on the design.
  • Academic: 400–420 sqm: 4 Classrooms, Audio Visual Room, Computer Lab, Seminar Hall, Workshops, Subject Laboratories.
  • Administration: 350 sqm: Principal/Manager Cabins, Educators Room, Admin/Support offices, Utility & Maintenance, Security Room/space, Meeting/visiting room, Conference Hall.
  • Recreation/Community: 200–250 sqm: Library, Common Hall, Exhibition Hall, Arts/Performing Arts spaces, Cafeteria, Indoor game/playrooms, Playground/Sports Pitch, Sports room/facilities, Open/Semi Auditorium.
  • Care services: 30–40sqm: Medical care room, Counsellors room.
  • General services: 120–130 sqm: Kitchen, Pantry, Student & Staff Washrooms/Toilets/Changing rooms.

Find all the competition brief, terms, and other registration guidelines on this

page: Edugreen | Educational Building Competition on UNI | About

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Originally published at https://uni.xyz.