Wenzhou Kean University Student Learning Activity Center

Whenzhou, China
Harmonizing Tradition and Modernity

The Student Learning and Activity Center (SLAC) of Wenzhou-Kean University is centrally located on the campus, positioned between the academic and residential areas. This building, notable for its light and transparent design, provides unparalleled views of the central lake. A key symbol of the university’s ethos, the SLAC is a multi-functional landmark as a vibrant activity center and a tranquil library. The combination reflects the transformation and evolution of learning spaces, establishing the SLAC as the heart of student life at the university.

Wenzhou-Kean University enjoys an excellent location surrounded by mountains and rivers.
Nature-Inspired Architecture

Designing the SLAC translates the culture of “absorbing the lessons from nature” into modern architectural languages. The building rests lightly on the lake and horizontally extends into the surrounding landscape.

The beauty of changing nature passes through the transparent façade, permeating the air as inspiration and spiritual joy.
In the evening, the building is bathed in light, and the transparent façade reveals the activities inside, drawing students in.
The building demonstrates the changing role of the 21st century library from a place for books to a place for students. As an iconic heart of the campus, the design expresses openness and transparency while celebrating the spirit of student collaboration.

—Zheng Xiaodong, Vice President, Wenzhou Kean Universit

The design approach aligns with the university's educational philosophy of connecting people and encouraging serendipitous encounters, with an emphasis on transparency as the physical manifestation of openness.
This experience is extended outdoors, evoking the energetic community atmosphere of the campus.
Aerial view to the campus.
Vertical Street: Energizing Campus Community

The building’s internal wayfinding links with the campus’ key pedestrian pathways, which now ascend from the base all the way up to the top of the building, forming a “vertical street” that connects the SLAC’s functional areas. Taking the “grand steps” as a typology, the vertical street generates different types of spaces that allow a variety of activities and social interaction.

Axon: "Vertical Street"
The four-story high public commons.
Not only does the angled canopy create a glare-free diffusion of perimeter light into the reading area, but the thin edge establishes a sophisticated building outlook.
The skylight brings natural light in.
Exploration & Innovation: Lively Interior Spaces

The interior, however, is revealed as a rhythmic and dynamic structure of interlaced staircases and functions that embody the spirit of exploration and innovation.

Canopies with transparent glazing are also functional, optimizing the continuous framed view from the interior to the exterior while also shading the building.

SLAC has three functions: an activity center, a library, and an information center. The lower levels are relatively public and active, while the upper floors are more private and quiet.

Student Service Areas
Unique learning Steps
We envision this campus landmark, with its blend of Eastern and Western cultures, as a vibrant community where students can enjoy the scenery, meditate, read, make friends, perform, and play. This building is the answer to students' expectations of university life.

—James Lu, Regional Director Asia, Perkins&Will

Strength & Flow: Spatial clarity

The horizontal featured plates that expand from the inside to the outside form a concise and clear architectural vocabulary. As the volumes vertically accumulate, the structure’s ceremonial character is gradually reinforced

Project Team

James Lu - headshot
James Lu