The “Bridge School” bridges the two parts of the small village of Xiashi that lie on either side of a small creek. The school can be transformed into an impromtu theatre or play structure, and Li Xiaodong hopes the building will become a social centre for the village.
When architect Li Xiadong was asked to build a tiny school for a small village crossed by a river, he had the inspiration of placing it on a new bridge, near the spot where two ancient toulou - traditional fortress-like, circular structures - were erected on either side of the river.
The school is constructed out of two large steel spans that cross the bridge and smaller steel supports and framing. Local materials and wood were used to create the facade, interior furnishings and school furniture. While the steel is very modern, especially in the context of a rural village, the material will last a long time while creating a structurally-sound school. The use of wood helps the building blend texturally and aesthetically with the rest of the village. Suspended from the structure and running below it is a pedestrian bridge for the people of the village to use. Small and modern in design, with no reference to the area’s traditional building style, the school has nonetheless become the physical and spiritual centre of what was a declining village.
Fujian has a subtropical humid monsoon climate, with annual temperature averaging between 17-21 °C. Even in the mountains, winters are warm, with January temperatures in coastal regions averaging 7-10 °C and averaging 6-8 °C in higher elevations. Summers see high temperatures and occasional typhoons off the Pacific. Average annual precipitation is 1400-2000 mm.
Description: School that connects two villiage communities together.
Design: Li Xiaodong atelier
Building status: in use
Construction period: 2008-2009
Location: Xiashi Village, China
Coordinates: 24°17'34.4'' N, 117°4'24.6'' E
Tags: community development, timber
Project ID: 98
Published: 17 August 2011
Last updated: 4 April 2013
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