Amsterdam  2019

Condition-Lab, a design research laboratory led by Associate Professor Peter W. Ferretto and based within the School of Architecture at CUHK, has won the Civic & Community Completed Building of the year award at the World Architecture Festival 2019 in Amsterdam.  Competing against 17 other International shortlisted entries, their building titled “Gaobu Book House” was described by the jury as:


"Gaobu Book House is totally intertwined with the community - a project that goes well beyond the actual building and demonstrates excellence of process.  The engagement of two universities departments over five years, working to regenerate and stitch a community back together - like many rural towns and villages the working population has left behind their children with the grandparents, and this building provides the place to learn and play. Highly sensitive to local needs and skills, the project has enabled new thinking into how a building can be made using traditional techniques."


Gaobu Book House is not simply a building but offers a new way of thinking about how buildings are designed and fabricated.  The School of Architecture at CUHK sits within the faculty of Social Science and the Condition-Lab tries to integrate social issues into how architecture is designed.  People are at the heart of how we operate; the lab is formed by a series of young graduates, we actively collaborate with international academic institutions, we involve students directly in the design and building process of all projects, every project we take on is grounded in locally available craftsmanship.  Designing buildings is for us a process of discovering the story behind the project, the story of the people that will use the building.


The Gaobu Book House is a story about a house and a village, about two universities, CUHK and Guangzhou University collaborating with the villagers over a long period to finally deliver a new paradigm for participatory architecture.  When we opened the building exactly 1 year ago we read a short poem to the local community which concluded with the words:


“We all dream of places to escape, we all need stories to understand the world we live in. The Book House is a small escape house for children to ponder about the wonders of life, just in case we adults might forget them.”


Research Design Team

Prof. Peter W. Ferretto (CUHK)

Prof. CAI Ling (GZU)


Research Assistants

LIU Ziwei Paula (CUHK)

LAM Man Yan Milly (CUHK)

CHOI Sungyeol (CUHK)

WONG Yuk Tsin Beryl (CUHK)

WANG Haoran Howard (CUHK)

WU Haoming (GZU)

LIU Xiaoyun (GZU)


WAF Official Website