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School Bridge: by Li Xiaodong Atelier.

When we speak of Chinese architecture, we have come to think of oversized cultural projects designed by those that should know better. But quietly working away in towns and villages throughout China, is an altogether more sensitive type of practice that is doing some beautiful and thoughtful work.

This project is typical of that, but there is nothing typical about the architecture. The building has a mixed programme that is a school, a cultural centre, and a habitable bridge. It's entire conception is to enliven an old village, and sustain traditional village cultures.

The building is designed by Li Xiaodong Atelier and was completed in 2009. It is located in Fujian province. The building's primary structure is steel, with timber floors, ceilings and shutters. Abutments to the steel structure are of in-situ concrete with a timber stick cladding / sun shade.

Beneath the bridge structure is a second pedestrian bridge made of steel with timber decking. It navigates pedestrians out, over the stream below, to avoid the bridge landing.

The modern appearance of the building, with its clean lines, contrasts beautifully with the existing mud and stone structures of the old village.

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