Tailing is a rural village with a population of around 12,000, located in Yongxin County, Ji'an, Jiangxi Province, at the foot of the cradle of the Chinese Revolution - Jinggang Mountains. Yongxin County is blessed with a mild climate and rich nature and has a number of nature reserves. This project is a public benefit renovation of a comprehensive cultural station in Tailing.
Before the renovation, this comprehensive cultural station of about 500㎡ was used by villagers as a venue for reading books, playing mahjong, and enjoying tea. The cultural station was adjacent to a residential area, the surroundings were cluttered, and the design and space of the venue did not function effectively. In addition, the population of the village has been severely declining over the past few years, and the number of users of the cultural station was also decreasing. We planned to transform the cultural station into a local library and community center.
This project was initiated by Ms. Liu Peiying (now working for China Edition Group), a native of Tailing Township, to give back to her hometown, and COLORFULL DESIGN team jointly planned and provided the whole process of site selection, design and supervision of public welfare services.
Tailing has few public facilities and lacks places for villagers to interact with each other. Public facilities such as the central square, a clinic, and a health activity center are located around the site, and houses surround the central square. Therefore, the design was carried out with full consideration of the impact on the surrounding residents.
From the outset, we envisioned an idyllic and open facility that would incorporate the rich natural environment of the countryside and reuse the natural materials and existing spaces that are unique to the area. The theme of the project is not to build a closed library, but to create a “hall” where people can gather spontaneously, thus providing a place for all ages to learn, interact, play, and relax, adding a sense of well-being to their daily lives.
The focus of this project is on the relationship between the site and the square on the east. The existing concrete columns are spaced at 4m apart and we set up a grand staircase in the grid of the columns as a way of creating a continuous spatial experience extending from the upper level of the grand staircase to the eastern square. The flooring is also continuous in material and color. When the floor-to-ceiling windows are fully open, the edge of the interior and the square will naturally fade away, creating a spatial sense of “borderlessness”.
The building is planned into three areas: the entrance space, the hall space, and the functional space. Through the design of the structure, the view of the square can be seen from the grand staircase. The functional area is equipped with a washroom on the first floor and a private meeting room on the second floor.
The grand staircase is wide, facing the square, like the theatre seats facing the stage. The staircase itself is designed as bookcases. In addition, small cave-like private reading spaces are set inside the steps.
A curved ceiling connects the three areas. The curved surface of the ceiling reflects the natural light from the skylight and brightens the whole space. The ceiling is made of aluminium louvers coated with mortar made from local soil. The curved ceiling helps present a textured and soft hall space.
In China, there is a considerable difference between urban and rural areas in terms of life and environment. We hope to contribute to the construction of the countryside through the design of public welfare projects.
It took 16 months to complete the Kaiyun Library. We were so delighted to see the smiles of the children on the spot. We hope that the library will become a place for villagers to rest and communicate, and that the children who study and play here will grow up healthy and joyful.