Peach and Plum Garden: A modern interpretation of Chinese Gardens by

2023 Playgrounds and Schools / China / Built in 2022 /


Nestled between two heritage buildings in a century-old school campus and urban street, Peach and Plum Garden revitalizes the once-closed and overlooked space into an innovative urban garden and serves as a secondary campus entrance and multifunctional hub for education, exhibitions, relaxation, landscape appreciation, and outdoor theater.

Sustainable Renewal and Respect for History

The design thoughtfully integrates into its historic surroundings by employing a lightweight and elegant structure, creating an approachable and welcoming atmosphere. The project’s grand and creative image showcases the profound heritage of the century-old school, while its smile-like graceful steel structure echoes the school’s educational philosophy of encouraging the childlike ability to wonder and marvel with motherly love. This adaptive approach meets the requirements for new construction in a historical environment, emphasizing identifiability and low impact. The large flexible screen provides various teaching scenarios, fostering diverse educational experiences.

Interdisciplinary Collaboration and High-Quality Construction

A seamless integration of architecture, structure, landscape, lighting, and furniture design creates a harmonious and functional space. The ultra-thin steel structure complements the historical brick building facade while maintaining modern appeal. Using glass bricks allows for a dynamic interplay between light and shadow, forming a captivating urban landscape for teachers and students alike.

Peach and Plum Garden exemplify the power of interdisciplinary collaboration and innovative design, breathing new life into a historic campus while providing a multifunctional, sustainable, and engaging environment for future generations.

Nestled between two heritage buildings in a century-old school campus and urban street, Peach and Plum Garden revitalizes the once-closed and overlooked space, reimagining it as a modern garden that seamlessly integrates historical, architectural, structural, and landscape elements. The curved steel structure gently integrates into the campus environment, while the flexible, interactive screen fosters diverse teaching and leisure scenarios. The ultra-thin, free-form deep gray light steel structure contrasts beautifully with the solid and orderly building brick facade, celebrating the harmony of old and new. Glass bricks create a seamless transition between the heritage structures and modern pavilion, accompanied by ever-changing light that enriches the visual experience. The design thoughtfully incorporates a variety of functions such as campus entrance, outdoor classroom, exhibition, relaxation, and movie-watching, crafting a holistic and engaging urban place that caters to a wide range of needs.


The site was once a vacant, chaotic, and overlooked space within the school campus, and faced the complex demands of preserving the historical environment, opening up the urban interface, and creating vibrant campus spaces within a limited area. The renovation transforms a chaotic and closed-off site into a dynamic urban oasis, enriching the lives of students, teachers, and the community.


After analyzing the current situation from 1,206 valid questionnaire samples, the team addressed needs and challenges utilizing the traditional Chinese garden design principle of showing universe perspectives with small elements and limited space in a compact area. The ultra-thin steel structure gracefully blends into the environment with harmonious contrast to historic buildings. The prefabrication and on-site assembly of the structure minimize construction cost, time, and negative impact on campus life. The LED interactive screens with interchangeable features offer versatile teaching and recreational scenarios, enhancing the overall user experience. The wall along the street comprises interwoven blue bricks and glass bricks, creating dynamic light and shadow effects and visual guidelines.


The design intends to use a lightweight approach to respond to the substantial historical architecture, reducing the interference of new structures on historical appearance while enlivening the modern spirit. Cooperating with structural engineers, an ultra-thin effect is achieved using a 1-centimeter-thick plate and connected to steel columns at both ends, creating a graceful catenary edge.


Peach and Plum Garden transcend its role as a campus space, bridging the gap between the enclosed school and the city as a platform for interaction. It satisfies the interactive needs of school life and offers a space for parents to communicate. The lightweight structure, movable interactive screens, and semi-enclosed circulation create a modern garden with ever-changing views. The space has transformed into a vibrant urban public node, showcasing professional knowledge in urban micro-regeneration, heritage preservation, and architectural design to the broader community.

Location: 4 Sipai Lou, Xuanwu District, Nanjing City, Jiangsu Province

Design year: 2021.05 – 2022.01

Year Completed: 2022.05


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