Tsinghua University – Graduate Lab

Architecture, Interior

Tsinghua University, School of Architecture Graduate Lab

The design for the Graduate Lab in the School of Architecture at Tsinghua University, aims to rethink spaces for architectural education. By reframing the learning environment as a homebase, it sets out to transform the traditional way of learning currently seen in the state of education in China.

Flexible studio spaces made possible with sliding screens and walls

Beijing locality map

Tsinghua University, School of Architecture

Tsinghua University, the top rated University in China, is located between the 4th and 5th ring road in the north-west of Beijing, just beside the historic Yuanmingyuan park.

Tsinghua University locality map

Tsinghua University – Graduate Lab

Studio reviews in session

Space for Learning

The project is about working with the community of students and professors in order to transform the method of learning through built environment.

Placement of elements within the total space

Competition adjudicating

Future: Classroom as Homebase

The classroom evolves from a mere sphere of one-way instruction into a home base for educational exploration.

The Classroom as Homebase

“The evolution of the classroom from a sphere of instruction to a homely base, is partially characterized by a need for identified places, spatial units, not closed off, but open and inviting, and in which, despite the publicness, you can still concentrate yourself and feel at home” – Herman Hertzberger

Classroom as homebase

Transforming Learning

We transformed what used to be a cold and mundane corridor into an open, light, and inviting learning environment.

Multi-purpose steps used for formal and informal functions

Studio space as circulation space

Studio plan showing the highlighting the possible lecture/seminar spaces

Open Classroom

The free and open floor plan of the graduate lab provides a large amount of possible room configurations, using the standard available furniture.

Morning in the studio spaces

Flexible group work setting

Spaces for People

The centerpiece of the graduate lab features a flexible box or “Lounge Box” which smartly integrates various functions into a clear, recognizable and spatially defining unit.

Walls and screens folded away to create a large amphitheater

Perspective section

Tsinghua University School of Architecture Graduate Lab.

Perspective plan of the middle of the studio

Lounge Space

The central box not only defines space around it, but in addition it creates functions for students to appropriate by themselves aside from standard working space.

Top-down model image

Side elevation of the central box

Side elevation of the central box

Bar seating and small lockers for students

Translucent screens and magnetic walls

Transforming studio spaces


The open plan, multi purpose classrooms provide flexible usage for different activities throughout the studio term, from individual work, to group work, presentations, lectures and workshops.

Amphitheater forum space

Team Building Together

Working closely with the craftsmen on site is always a key part of our working process to ensure the our design is realized right down to the details as we had planned.

The woodworking team on site

The steel working team on site

Timber and concrete details

Workers on site completing a portion of the steel sub-structure

On-Site Guidance

Building the project on site allowed a unique opportunity for the students to get involved with the construction process and see the entire space transform through drawn instructions to real built objects.

Upper lounge space for working and relaxing


We create multi functional places that people can appropriate and inhabit. Architecture as a backdrop for community life.

Students having a nap after presentations

Lecture class during a workshop

Studio presentations taking place

Place for Creative Education

We design places for education that promote creative thinking, by creating an open and stimulating learning environment.

Mid-year review setup

Team: Yonghong Chen, Martijn de Geus, Han Zhang

Client: Tsinghua University School of Architecture

Project Year: 2015

Location: Beijing, China