The College is located on a 35,000 sq.m. site in the Hongqiao district of Tianjin, some fifteen minutes by car from the commercial centre of the city. Construction of the buildings commenced in September 2009 and was completed in May 2011, in good time for the opening of the College in August 2011. The result is one of the most striking and well-resourced school campuses in China, if not the world, whether in terms of the architectural style, the range of facilities or the generally pleasing effect on the eye. By the end of 2011, the College had already become a Tianjin landmark.
The Early Years building is an attractive double-storey construction, which contains twelve very large classrooms, all possessing internal toilet and washing facilities and a shaded balcony area overlooking the landscaped grounds. The building opens onto an outside play area, which will contain a large range of climbing frames and toys, all placed on a safety-first surface.
The architecture of the main teaching building and the adjoining Early Years building deliberately evoke the classical style of Wellington College in the UK. The former contains the Junior School on the ground floor, while, above it, the Senior School occupies the second and third floors. Both schools share the main College entrance, with its features drawn from the College in the UK, the distinctive atrium and the welcoming parent meeting area. The three courtyards are also inspired by the College in England, though the first-floor theatre, which seats over five hundred people, is unique to the school in Tianjin. Here will be the venue for College assemblies, as well as school and professional productions and concerts, the latter due to the wide array of supporting rooms and resources. Very few schools have designated make-up, costume and props rooms!
The College Library is found on the first floor, being divided into a separate section for each school. The Senior School library is spacious and, above all, user-friendly, where we are creating a 21st-century library designed to provide students with all the tools needed to learn and achieve in our technological age. In addition to the excellent collection of books and reference material, we are adding wi-fi, e-readers, access to e-books, touch-screen technology and flexible spaces for individual and group study. The adjacent Junior School library is an ideal environment for children to develop a love of reading and researching group or individual topics. The very firm emphasis here is on the enjoyment of studying.
The ground floor contains the College Cafeteria, designed to accommodate five hundred staff and students at a single sitting, with a central serving area. The accompanying kitchen facilities enable the College to provide the highest standards of cuisine, with a wide choice of dishes on offer at lunchtimes.
One of the most striking features of the College is that very few of the classrooms are the same, though they do all have inter-active whiteboards and full computer facilities. Different parts of the school possess their own character and have been adapted to their own particular uses. The Art and Design Technology rooms are larger, overlook the courtyards and have greater light. The Music rooms are sound-proofed and, at their heart, have nine designated practice rooms. The Science laboratories are housed on the top floor and have differing characteristics, reflecting the individual knowledge and study skills required for Physics, Chemistry and Biology at a pre-university level. Not to be left out, Drama has probably the most remarkable location in the College: the chapel-like ‘black box’, or mini-theatre, next to the Staff Common Room on the first floor.
The sports facilities accessible to the College are the equal of any school in the world, reflecting our commitment to sport, both as a healthy extra-curricular activity and for individuals and teams to excel in. On the College campus there is a modern state-of-the-art Sports Hall, an indoor swimming pool, tennis and basketball courts, and a main astroturf football/rugby pitch, with an all-weather running track along one touchline. In the immediate vicinity the College also has access to three swimming pools, one 50-metre in length, another sports hall, and tennis and squash courts.