The Pingtan Children's Library in Hunan, China has been named as 2022 INSIDE World Interior of the Year at the World Architecture Festival. Designed by Condition_Lab, the library was selected from a shortlist of eleven categories.
The three-story scheme follows the typology of the region’s vernacular Dong House, with a tiled pitch roof and a timber construction system of interlocking columns and beams. Inside, two of the four walls are dedicated to views of exterior rice fields and courtyard, while two are lined with books.
The focal elements of the scheme's interior are two interwoven spiral staircases, creating a double helix that becomes both the vertical circulation and seating for the 400 children that attend the primary school.
“The value of this project lies in two fundamental lessons,” the design team said. “The first relates directly to the children of Pingtan who beyond enjoying playing in the library have realized their culture is alive and remains relevant in this fastly changing world. The second relates to the discipline, at a moment when architecture especially in an urban metropolis like Hong Kong seems to have lost its soul to ever-demanding developers, making one aware of the social importance of architecture.”
The scheme was selected by jurors Linzi Cassels of Perkins + Will, Ann Lau of Hayball, Eva Jiřičná of AI – DESIGN, Johnny Chiu of J.C. Architecture, and Nigel Coates. The judges praised the scheme’s “traditional craftsmanship,” which created a “delightful structure” where children can “play on the steps, reach for a book or peak at their friends.”
The library is the second Chinese project in a row to win the INSIDE World Interior of the Year Award, with the 2021 edition going to the Capsule Hostel and Bookstore in Qinglongqu by Atelier tao+c. The 2022 edition was also announced at the same time that 3XN’s upcycled Quay Quarter Tower in Sydney was awarded the 2022 World Building of the Year at WAF.
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