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云丘书屋 - 河南张步口小学图书室
The Cloudyhill Reading Room

Somewhere in a classroom in a remote area, fill in the clouds, embedded in the hills, rise the red sun.Light pours into this place with the children, climbing up the hill, plucking away the clouds and exploring new worlds.

The Cloudyhill Reading Room starts from the concern for the growth of children in remote areas, it is a small but big space for children to learn and play, and it is also a new programme for experimenting with children's education in remote areas. Here, children can read a variety of books and participate in fun games, giving wings to the dreams of children growing up in remote areas.

Light: Design can be a beam of light

Located at Zhangbukou Primary School in Xieji Town, Liangyuan District, Shangqiu City, Henan Province, the renovation project aims to provide beneficial after-school activities and reading space for children in remote areas with a charitable design at a low construction cost. Invited by Beijing Western Sunshine Rural Development Foundation, BAI Design Internatioanl architects completed the 'Cloudyhill Reading Room' children's development centre in July 2023 with a lot of love. 

The charity project is to create a specific and friendly environment for children in remote areas by transforming old classroom spaces and integrating designers, interiors and illustrated books to create sustainable and replicable prototypes of spaces that can be used for education.

Hills: Design starts with a Chinese story

Taking inspiration from the hills and clouds, we've made the 60 sqaur metre Cloudyhill Reading Room children's development centre a narrative space with a playful setting, creating a space of vibrancy and endless possibilities.

In terms of design, we focused on creating a comfortable and fun reading environment while introducing creative elements and decorations to create an engaging atmosphere. Cloud shaped seats and hilly reading corners allow children to enjoy reading in a cosy environmen.

We enhance the space with sound and lighting effects, using two light sources to add a splash of sunset colour to the walls and to set the stage for the children's creative shadow play. The design of the hill shape bookshelves is derived from the cascading mountainous terrain, extracting lines both vertically and horizontally, and dividing the two “hills”facing each other into six freely movable bookshelves.

"Interactive" is the key word, and the six movable bookshelves can be flexibly combined and used in connection with children's activities. The design can meet different needs and scenarios. In addition to serving as a daily reading space, it can also provide a relaxing and enjoyable place for special courses, parent meetings, drama performances, etc..

Clouds: Childhood Games and Gatherings

The cloud-shaped design emulates the magnificent clouds, with light textured paper decorations on the ceiling and soft artificial lighting, bringing a gentle temperament to the space. The cloud screen of the ceiling dissolves the original tall and empty space, creating the experience of being in the clouds with a more intimate gesture, a dialogue with nature, fading boundaries, and opening up the imagination and the future. It is an enlightening place.

We moved the clouds into the small reading room to respond to the feeling of being on top of the mountain, "looking up to the sky and the world, spreading out at ease". The use of ocean balls gives the space the joy of childhood, breaking the boundaries of space and function, and bringing an open and lively atmosphere. Children have fun searching for poems hidden among the clouds.

Rural Welfare : Making Public Welfare a Fashion

In recent years, the issue of children's reading in remote areas of China has attracted the attention of the public welfare, and thanks to the efforts of various sectors, more and more children's books have been donated to the villages and towns, and the quantity of books is no longer a pressing issue at the moment. Building children's development centres has become the latest challenge that needs to be addressed. Cultivating an interest in reading and creating an attractive space is crucial to the sustainability of the charity's projects in the future.

"We hope that the design is not just an outcome, but a public welfare project that motivates more people to take part in it", BAI Design International architect Bai Yu said. Adhering to the concept of sustainable development, we cooperate with the Western Sunshine Foundation to explore the new possibilities of circular economy in "charity + design". Through the fun design, we can cultivate children's reading habits, make charity a "fashion", go beyond the single "book donation", inspire more people to participate in the creation and construction of charity projects, and promote the development of remote areas.

Total GFA: 61.50 square meters

Site Location: Shangqiu, Henan

Function: Library 

Status: Completed in 2023

Initiating Organization: Western Sunshine Foundation

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