Imagine how much easier it would be to get kids excited about going to the library if the library itself doubled as a playground. That's exactly what's happened in an earthquake-ravaged village in China's Yunnan Province. The town's new library doubles as a community center with a slide on top. And it's beautiful.
With the help of a team from the University of Hong Kong, architects John Lin and Olivier Ottevare designed The Pinch to be a prominent community space. A large part of the village had been destroyed in a 2012 earthquake, and they wanted to build a space that would bring the community together.
"Villages in China often prioritise building houses over community spaces and community programs, even though it is an important aspect of village life," Lin told Dezeen. "Although the government provided an open plaza for the reconstruction, we wanted to help introduce a program which would activate the site. By adding the library, we have created an important public and communal facility in the village."
The Pinch is built against a 4m high retaining wall that serves as a sort of on-ramp to the smooth, sloping roof, which bends into an A-frame shape where the wall meets the roof. It's almost as if a giant pinched the roof into a point and pulled up, letting the roof drape down towards the ground.
Inside, the building celebrates the area's traditional timber construction style, in spite of the earthquake. Hanging shelves are integrated into the beams that span the ceiling and simple wooden benches provide seating.
Although it's striking for its angles, The Pinch is a Spartan structure that leaves plenty of space for people. After all, that's what it was built for — to bring the community together. And that rooftop slide is bound to create a lot of memories. Even if they are memories of butt splinters and jammed fingers. It's worth it. [Dezeen]
Pictures: John Lin and Olivier Ottevar via Dezeen