1. Built environment
  2. Architecture & design
October 15, 2014updated 30 Jul 2021 1:29pm

This inner-city Chinese school has a running track on its roof

By City Monitor Staff

Access to outdoor space is an endless problem for inner-city schools. None of the options – pay through the teeth for a large piece of land in the city, send students on a coach for twenty minutes or just forgo sports entirely – are particularly appealing. 

In China, the designers of a school in the densely-built city of Tiantai have found a solution to this quandary. They designed the 4-storey primary school in the shape of an oval, then stuck a 200m running track on top. There was even space left over for a basketball court:

The building’s architects told Archdaily that if the track were built on the ground, it would take up 40 per cent of the school’s land:

If we put the playground on the ground as the normal way, then the space of the campus will be very cramped. At the same time, it is necessary to ensure students a playground to have sports and activities.”

Yesterday, Shanghaiist reported that a school in Fuyang, a city in Anhui province, has taken a similar approach – it’s installed a 2,000 square metre soccer field on its roof:

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Image: China Daily.

Of course, spending a lot of time outside in smoggy Chinese cities can be unwise: last week, air quality in Beijing was so bad that schools were advised to cancel outdoor sports altogether.

Luckily, the Tiantai primary school is in a smaller city, where the pollution isn’t quite so bad. Fuyang, on the other hand – well, we’ll just leave you with this image of outdoorsy Fuyang residents exercising last January: 

Image: China Daily.

Let’s hope they cancelled football practice that day. 

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