Bridge School at Pinghe by Li Xiaodong


Architect Li Xiaodong has completed a school in Fujian, China, which forms a bridge over a creek between two castles.

Called Bridge School at Pinghe, the steel structure is supported on concrete platforms and covered in thin wooden slats.

It contains two classrooms that can also be used as a theatre by villagers.

A narrow walkway is suspended underneath the school structure as a second means of crossing the creek.

Here's some more information from Li Xiaodong:


Bridge School (Fujian, China)

The Bridge, the School, the Playground, the Stage

Located at a remote village, Fujian Province in China, the project does not only provides a physical function - a school and a bridge - but also presents a spiritual centre.

The main concept of the design is to enliven an old community (the village) and to sustain a traditional culture (the castles and lifestyle) through a contemporary language which does not compete with the traditional, but presents and communicates with the traditional with respect.

It is done by combining few different functions into one space – a bridge which connects two old castles cross the creek, a school which also symbolically connects past, current with future, a playground (for the kids) and the stage (for the villagers).

Project info:

Name of the Project: Bridge School at Pinghe, Fujian Province, China

Architect: Li Xiaodong/atelier

Build Aera: 240m2
Building material: Steel, Wood, Concrete.
Cost: RMB650,000

Construction Period: 2008-09
Photographer:Li Xiaodong

Posted on Wednesday December 23rd 2009 at 6:40 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Vanessa Blovnne

    Beautiful bridge! So much better than Fernando Romero's bridge in China!!

    • Lado

      Much better.

  • Milan

    Beautiful design.
    @dezeen: It would be nice if you could provide info about an exact location for each project you publish. Thank you.

  • Thom

    I did not read anything but just watched pictures
    I love it

  • Atal

    Visually very nice but seems extremely unpractical, I don't understand the stairs to get to the bridge and the very steep passage on the side of the stairs, is that supposed to be an emergency exit??? Should have used another material for the stairs which are already very dirty.

    • Adam

      because its not a bridge man. its a school. read first, then watch. sometimes text is more important…

    • Peter

      The steep "passage" mentioned is a slid for the kids, and this is a school not a hospital, the stairs are made from what looks like painted steel easily cleaned

  • m

    Absolutely wonderful. I love these towns of circular family castles, it’s an very beautiful typology. And this schoolbridge fits very delicately in the context. Great.

  • yeah…


    if you scroll up, you’ll find the location listed: Pinghe, Fujian Province, China

    i love the materials used in this project… beautiful composition

  • @ Atal: That very steep passage is a slide for the kids. And while it may seem impractical, perhaps architecture that is meant for children should NOT be practical, but playful and adventurous instead.

    I think this is a fantastic project. Impecably detailed, beautifully contemporary, and full of texture with a tonal palette that stitches it into its context remarkably well. Bravo.

    Contemporary practices in The West seem to struggle so much with context, and tend to rely on contrast/denial as a response (or lack thereof) but this is an excellent example of how architects in The East seem to avoid the old/new dilemma by keeping conceptual traditions alive through the centuries, but with fresh techniques… WELL DONE.

  • Vincent Zhang

    The passage seems too narrow and kind of unfriendly, though the plan and relationship with site looks nice!

  • michelle

    i like the project With the Humane Care.the bridge represents a kind of culture of China.In some local place of China.Bridge is not only a functional meaning for’s also a assembling place for local.students use the classroom.people walk through under the room.listening the sounds of’s point~

  • LeTo

    It seems to be a slide isn’t it? It would explain the material, and its state would turn from dirty to used
    Anyway this project looks great, especially its ethic

  • Wonderful – playful and clean and warm, wonderful.

  • Leandro Locsin

    bridge under a bridge is a good idea!

    i think the pedestrian bridge needs some high balustrade for kids.

  • johson

    fabulous design, contemporary yet regional, extreme, yet integrated, congratulations to the architect, wonderful work.

  • bebo

    just beautiful.

  • hacedeca

    Extremely nice and chic! Not so sure about the claimed use as a school: Don’t they need computers and projectors and stuff in China – tables…?

    But a cool mini conference centre and theatre for the local population. And nice mix of materials, the ugly concrete covered in wood – should be done more often, gives the whole thing this ecological touch.

  • lior

    This building is the perfect example how the new can be beautiful without competing with the old.
    I especially liked the steep slope slider for the kids that add a bit of fun to a standard circulation space.

  • Jun

    To Atal:
    How could you keep the groud clean even if you chose antother material? It’s a project located in one of the poorest area of Eastern China, it’s not in Shanghai!!
    Maybe u guys have been used to Parametric design or these stuffs, but u can’t require everywhere in the world is the same.
    BTW, the slope is used for children, be more carefull and patient next time!! You even don’t understand it

  • Astrid

    Beautiful project. Sensitive and thoughtful.

  • modular

    Outstanding. Yet, not in a practical way. Only visual! ;)

  • Would love to live in this “beautiful” piece of architecture!

  • 42studio

    I think this is quite a poetic project. It is a sensitive design and use of material in this context. Beautiful project.

  • pomT

    oh my god! It’s my hometown

  • super beauty !

  • Roy

    A bridge that serves as a link between two old castles, school, and a theatre for the villagers, in a way revived the place with all the poetic emotion that it contains. Great piece of work!

    @modular: Mind to explain why is it not outstanding in a practical way? cheers. :)

  • yan

    i think better use local materials for this project

  • The philosophy of the project is poetic! Very consistent also the architecture. compliments

  • Yvonne

    Well, if you guys knew that, this “bridge” was upposed to be a primary school donated to the poor neighborhood, and now since this pretty little piece of architecture is so impractical, another practical one, I mean, with desk and chairs, had to be built nearby… and that this region may have strong typhoon in summer…
    Then how would you value it?

  • Poison79

    It is an accepted norm in our mindset for schools to provide tables and chairs in order to be considered a school. But schools can also adopt an open classroom concept that embrace flexibility and adaptability in the use of space. Foldable tables and chairs can be part of the furniture to be stored in place later when the village gets richer. A classroom during daytime, a mini town hall for the village folks at night; I think the design cater to these 2 functions aptly. The silent quality of the bridge seems to integrate seamlessly with the spirit of the site.

  • NRB

    I had the amazing opportunity to visit several Fujian Tulou Houses in May. I was struck by how beautiful and effective the use of various natural materials were throughout each complex. And still, today, these traditional building methods are being practiced by the local people.

    I am curious to see how the local population reacts to and engages with this new piece of architecture. I can say that yes, it seems like a nice space (ugh, our field is so subjective), but I wonder if more could have been done to take into account the local’s lifestyle, building traditions, communal habits, etc.?

    Here’s a link to some more Fujian Tulou photos:

  • Kieran Reddie

    …luff it!!

  • Fizz

    A piece of architecture in the Far East that so works with and is sympathetic to its environment as compared with, say, the Mt Fuji noodle restaurant. Beautiful.

  • dashen

    Nice design!! while, those two ancient buildings are not castle, just residential buildings mainly made by rammed earth

  • Sissi Lu

    It’s really awesome n lovely.