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Yuhu Elementary School and Community Center in Lijiang Yuhu is a Naxi minority village in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Lijiang, ten hours' bus ride North-west of Kunming. On the foothills of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, it is 2,760 metres above sea level and so enjoys a cool-dry climate with cool summer and mild winters. Behind it rise the white peaks of the mountains, dramatically defining the horizon. With the Naxi tenet of the mountains as the backbone and water as the soul of their culture, the design incorporated local stones and water. The most plentiful material in the area is whitecolored sedimentary limestone as well as cobblestones. Considering of material sustainability, the architects decided to use them as much as possible, cobblestones for water features and limestone for the rest. Big sliding and casement fenestrations open in clement weather allow as much light to penetrate as possible. All traditional aesthetic treatments or ornamentations were reduced to their basics: curved roof ridges were straightened and gable end ornamentations simplified into a timber lattice frame inspired by traditional grains racks. Traditional construction materials and techniques have been carefully married to modern ones. Timber was brought, cut and planed on site to make the structural frame and fenestrations. A structure design challenge was how to allow the buildings to withstand lateral loading in this earthquake zone. Unlike traditional Naxi houses that sit on stone pad foundations, reinforced concrete pad foundation with ground beams was used. Stonewalls were also reinforced with vertical rebars and horizontal wire mesh at regular intervals to resist lateral forces during an earthquake. While the concrete may have been relatively new, compared to traditional mud/lime mortar, the stones and timber were prepared in traditional fashion. New ways of composing and putting together traditional materials create interesting juxtaposition of new and old, reinventing the traditional Naxi house for modern usage.

Project name: Yuhu Elementary School and Community Center in Lijiang Award date: 2006 Location: Lijiang, China Floor area: 830 m2 Architect: Li Xiaodong Atelier Client: Yuhu Village Photographer: Melvin H J Tan Completion date: 2004 Award name: McGraw-Hill Construction 1st Bi-Annual "Good Design Is Good Business" China Awards 2006, Best Public Project

Good Design in China  

The book, co-published by LST Publishing House and McGraw-Hill, is a collection of 45 award-winning projects from three "Good Design Is Good...

Good Design in China  

The book, co-published by LST Publishing House and McGraw-Hill, is a collection of 45 award-winning projects from three "Good Design Is Good...

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