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With greater access to information and resources beyond the classroom, students learn more collaborating with their peers on campus grounds

Xavier Senior High School Building accommodates the influx of students enrolling in the new senior high school program mandated by the Philippine government, which adds two more years in basic education. With the urgency to build more buildings on campus, most schools neglect the value of open spaces. Even before the new program rolled out, Xavier suffers from a lack of outdoor social spaces, most of which were either delegated to sports or gardens. Save for the corridors and the canteen, there was no actual sheltered space for social exchange among students.

This came as a challenge: how to fit a new building with social areas in a campus that lacks space. The building sits on a narrow lot between the school gym and a courtyard separating the grade school and junior high school buildings. It features a lift-up design that preserves the connection between the two active school grounds on its side, allows cool air to pass through the ground floor, and provides students and teachers easy access between the gym and the courtyard.

All classrooms, save for some laboratories, and offices are located on the upper floors. Because of the remarkable difference in the elevation of the courtyard on the northeast side and that of the gym on the southwest, a grand stairway connecting the two is provided. More than a transition space, the stairway serves as a social space where students spend their breaks, hold group studies, and practice for school performances. 

Because it’s open, teachers and staff can monitor the activities in the area, discouraging unacceptable behavior such as vandalism, horseplay, and bullying. Now a familiar campus landmark, Xavier named the space ‘Wee Lee Hong Atrium’ after one of the school’s notable alumni.

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Disclaimer: All rendered images and illustrations are subject to change without notice.

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