Joemchon Middle School is a vibrant place, full of enthusiastic students with strong community support, contrary to the prevailing trend in which rural schools are disappearing due to the shrinking population. To capture this vibrancy and encourage lively encounters among students, the new school house was conceived as an expanded playground, where the outdoor landscape extends into the interior as much as possible, and the views to the outside are unobstructed.
Bottari Annex was initially conceived as a mediatheque to replace an old 1,000-SF reading room, but a separate project to add 8 classrooms was combined to form a new compound mixing the new library, directly accessed via a foot-bridge from the main building, with eight classrooms, including a science room and a music room, separated by several indoor gardens and patios.
Massing for the new annex was handled as a collection of three dimensional volumes and voids, tumbled and bundled together inside a wrapper, or bottari. Patios and courtyards are pleasant venues for outdoor lectures or seminars, and provide random opportunities for encounters among students and teachers. Patio walls are lined with a series of doors to provide open accessfrom internal circulation paths.
Throughout the internal volume, each interior space is coupled with an exterior court, to create acoustic buffers between classrooms, while also functioning as climate control vents to take advantage of the seasonal breezes from the mountains and the valleys nearby. This coupling extends beyond the internal massing, and programmatically combines compatible and complementary spaces, such as lobby/exhibition, corridor/patio, and library/parasol garden. On the façade, window and brick walls are proportionally coupled to provide 50% transparency, which is the traditional norm for Korean school buildings, albeit rotated 90 degrees to create a rhythmic repetition of a vertical motif. Finally, the coupling occurs on the surface of the wrapper, alternating brown and yellow bricks, to reinforce the bottari-like two-dimensional graphic continuity of the façade.