Condition Lab designs Pingtan Book House, a children’s library reminiscent of traditional Dong village architecture

Dong, Pingtan Book House- Condition Lab

In China, in Pingtan, a county located in Fujan Province, Condition Lab designed Pingtan Book House, a library for children attending primary school. The creation of this educational and cultural space, made entirely of wood, brings to mind the traditional architecture of the Dong people, an ethnic minority group in China, historically known for their great architectural works.

Condition Lab pays homage to ancient Dong traditions

Dong villages originated in the Chinese provinces of Guizhou, Hunan and Guangxi. Their main characteristic was that they were entirely built of fir wood, a typical local, natural and sustainable material. With the passage of time, these villages gradually turned into small modern towns, characterized by constructions no longer made of wood but of concrete.

Dong’s cultural DNA, which is very tied to traditions, has been challenged by the country’s social and cultural evolution. Therefore, with the creation of the Pingtan Book House, the library for the children of the Pingtan primary school, Condition Lab invites children not to forget their local artistic, cultural and architectural heritage.

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Dong, Pingtan Book House- Condition Lab

Pingtan Book House: a children’s library made of natural fir wood

The Pingtan primary school is attended by over 300 students aged 6-13. The complex, consisting of five buildings, includes classrooms, canteens, dormitories and administrative spaces. In building the Pingtan Book House, Condition Lab was inspired by traditional wood-framed Dong houses to create an ecofriendly structure with a contemporary design.

Pingtan Book House houses countless staircases, inviting children to explore each space through play and reading. One of the structure’s facades is entirely composed of small square windows overlooking the schoolyard. The polycarbonate windows filter sunlight ensuring a pleasant atmosphere inside, even in the hottest time of the day.

The structure cleverly uses some traditional details typical of Dong houses, such as the “dragon joints”, which are perfectly interlocking structural connections.

For the Pingtan Book House, Condition Lab worked closely with local carpenters and students from the CUHK School of Architecture. Moreover, the building was built with a single donation from the Chan Cheung Mun Chung Charitable Fund.

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Photography: Sai Zhao