Dabao Primary School and Community Cultural Centre
Dabao village is remotely situated within the mountain range of Guangxi province in China. The settlement provides a home to around 110 families of an ethnic minority group called the ‘Yaos’. The group has its own distinctive dialect and culture. Yao people are often identified by their unique colorful traditional costumes.
The Dabao project aims at providing the Yaos with a new primary school and a cultural center. Dabao villagers were invited to actively participate in the initial planning of the project, and involved in construction until project completion.
The school building is situated within the paddy fields on the mountains of Dabao. The project is designed to merge the building harmoniously with the surrounding landscape. Maintaining a balance between the building and the surrounding environment is a prime consideration for the architectural design of this project.
The design concept is structured around the use of layers of walls in addressing the challenges originated from the steep topography of the site. A long bamboo façade along the southern site boundary not only acts as a protective barrier from the road outside, it also regulates the transmission of noise and daylight whilst ensuring the privacy of occupants at the same time. The intelligent use of different diameters and lengths of bamboo tubes responds adequately to the different light requirements of the rooms for their respective functions.
The main level of the building includes two classrooms, each for 30 students, a library, a staff room, a kitchen, and a storage space. An outdoor playground area with a basketball court is located on the second level whereas the roof of the building is accessible for the children to play and for villagers to rest and enjoy the spectacular panoramic landscape. Besides functioning as a primary school, the center also serves as a cultural space for events, festivals and various celebrations of the Yaos.