Learning Environments Australasia Award for Nanjing International School!

11th Jun 2020 • eiw Projects

The early years redevelopment at Nanjing International School is a category winner in the 2020 Learning Environments Australasia Awards.


The team at eiw were thrilled to hear their redevelopment of the early years space at Nanjing International School was a category winner in the 2020 Learning Environments Australasia Awards! The project was the overall winner in category 5: renovation / modernisation under AU $5m.

We are grateful this enriching and collaborative project has been acknowledged, we would like to say a special thanks and congratulations also to:

  • Nanjing International School
  • NoTosh
  • Four Landscape Studio
  • Lucid Consulting
  • Capital House Australia

eiw were successfully shortlisted in an international design competition for the redesign of the early years space.

Following a design thinking collaboration between NIS and NoTosh over 2 years, eiw approached a design concept by building upon the two stated goals:

  • Putting student voice and choice at the centre of things
  • Bursting the bubble

All of the project scope area is the learning environment - both internal and external.

As a renovation, we relocated traditional corridors to redefine the journey through the area, providing new experiences, not just for the early years but for all the primary school students, giving them an opportunity to observe, share activity and interact as part of the wider community.

The approach to the Early Years precinct was scaled for small children as they begin their learning adventure.

Developing the southern entry point that features the existing ‘friendship gate’, that leads through a play area and enters from the ‘sunnyside’ builds expectation,

The design, based around the Regio principles, proposed 6 home hubs. Each Home Hub is made up of a series of connected zones, allowing for the different types of learning and social interactions to take place. At its heart is the Campfire, expanding beyond the blurred boundaries to embrace the Watering Holes, Cave spaces and Life spaces.

The watering holes build the child’s experience in sharing and playing with each other, either across classes or age groups. The Home Hubs connect and touch through their Watering Holes.

The balance reflects the culture - of the principles of well being, acting in harmony with people and nature.

See more photos here.

Congratulations to all award recipients!

Jury Citation:

Student Voice + Choice and Bursting the Bubble within the context of being in China. The objectives of this project in empowering each child and allowing freedom in living and learning have been clearly articulated in the design solution.

The planning process applied universal terms, related to natural experiences to develop a common understanding of the purposes of both connection and relationship spaces. The terms are aspirational and set the tone for nurturing development of the project and the people during the process as well as in the completed place.

The “Project Nest” enabled participants to safely share their thoughts and opinions openly and anonymously throughout the process. The structures of client groups can create the silent majority. Clearly, all views in the Nanjing project are encouraged and respected. This approach reflects the values of the School in learning.

The spatial response is an excellent integration of gentleness and resilience, providing flexibility for students and teachers to grow and discover. The material and furniture choices reinforce the essence of the project.

Creative use of bamboo in cabinetry and landscaping enhances the aesthetics, is sustainable and provides a recognition of place within the world.

The people who use this place will develop within a context which breaks down barriers between culture, whilst respecting the character of the individual. Clearly, the outcome is highly appropriate for an international school. In Australasia, most communities are or need to be able to respond in the same way as the stakeholders in the Nanjing International School Early Years Redevelopment.