Gallery: Bamboo Bridge School Wins a 2010 Aga Khan Award

One judge remarked on the project: "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..."

Li Xiaodong was asked to design a small school for the village of Xiashi in the Fujian Province, and he had the idea to combine the school with a pedestrian bridge that connected two historic toulou (circular castles made from packed dirt). A creek runs right through the middle of the village and the toulou serve as important historical landmarks, so it made sense to locate the school at the physical heart of the village. As Xiaodong says, the concept resulted in “minimum intervention, yet maximum impact – to rejuvenate the whole community.”

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 local materials helps the building blend texturally and aesthetically with the rest of the village.

Louvers and walls can be opened or closed depending on the season or programs taking place within the school. Two classrooms sit on either side of the bridge, and they are separated by a community library. Slides and various staircases allow access into the classrooms, and children are loath to leave school because it is like a playground for them.

Meanwhile, villagers congregate around the school’s courtyards and use the facilities for community activities. A walkway suspended by cables underneath the bridge school crosses the creek and is used by everyone when school is not in session. The north end of the school can be opened up and used as a stage for performances or other community projects.

+ Li Xiaodong

+ Aga Khan Award for Architecture


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  1. parvathy.r March 1, 2012 at 5:39 am

    super…rly i like it…………….

  2. CHANDAN HALDAR January 24, 2011 at 8:17 am


  3. Andrianome Frederic January 5, 2011 at 11:18 am

    We in Madagascar dream to develop a strategic policy to promote bamboo technology

  4. Barr.L.MOwoebute-Okedeji January 1, 2011 at 8:50 am

    Became interested in reading and knowing more of the wonderful world of bamboo.Particularly coming from the background of Africa.

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