Recipient of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2010.
The ‘Bridge School’ bridges the two parts of the small village of Xiashi that lie on either side of a small creek running about ten metres below the village. The structure is created by two steel trusses that span the creek with the space between them housing the functions of the school. Suspended from the structure and running below it is a pedestrian bridge for the people of the village to use. Small and modern in design, with no reference to the area’s traditional building style, the school has nonetheless become the physical and spiritual centre of what was a declining village. Placed in such a way that it addresses its surroundings, the Bridge School connects the village together, providing a central, social space. The broader social aspect of the project was part of the brief, which was developed with the school principal and head of the village to answer community needs rather than simply those of a primary school. A public library separates the two classrooms and the ends of each classroom, or the two ends of the school can be opened up, creating open stages at either end of the building that are integrated with the public spaces outside. The stage at the northern end can be used for performances, with the toulou as a backdrop. The result is a project that has successfully invigorated the entire community, encapsulating social sustainability through architectural intervention.
Mostafavi, Mohsen, editor. Implicate & Explicate: Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Baden: Lars Müller Publishers, 2011.
The Aga Khan Award for Architecture was established by His Highness the Aga Khan in 1977 to identify and encourage excellence in architecture and other forms of intervention in the built environment of societies with Muslim presence. The award is given every three years and recognizes all types of building projects that affect today’s built environment. Smaller projects are given equal consideration as large-scale buildings. The book presents the shortlist of nineteen projects, including the five award recipients for the 11th cycle of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. In their variety across culturally diverse areas of the globe, what these projects have in common is a commitment to design excellence despite constraints of budget, resources, climate, technology, or politics.