Having completed the “Book House” project in the Dong Minority village of Gaobu (Dec 2018), we have witnessed how an educational project can unite and help a community. The project allows the children of Gaobu, roughly 90 students with limited exposure to books, to play and learn in a safe and inspiring environment.
The lessons learnt over 1 year designing and building the Gaobu Book House, especially related to social and heritage issues, can now be translated into a new project. Recently we were contacted by the Pingtan primary school, another Dong Minority village further downstream from Gaobu, that serves as the main educational hub for many nearby villages, accommodating close to 400 children between the ages of 3-12.
Speaking to the Principal of the School, Mr. Hou Zhimin, he was wondering whether a “Book House” library model could be developed for his school, which now has very basic library. He was very interested in how the Gaobu project design retains the traditional vernacular architectural language that is missing in his campus.
The Pingtan Primary School, is a courtyard complex of concrete buildings built around a central courtyard/playground. None of the existing buildings are related to Dong traditional architecture and is generally in a poor state of disrepair. The premise has a vacant plot that today houses a temporary shed that the principle believes would be a good site for small timber library.