Every so often we are drawn to a particular class, so to speak, of architectural transformations: old school buildings that become something else, as in the case of
a Victorian girls’ school in Dorset, UK, turned serene home and a Catholic school in New Orleans turned whimsical guest house. There’s something nostalgic and charming about blackboards and rows of coat hooks left intact, a bed set in a former classroom—not to mention the eco-mindedness and poeticism of giving new life to these spaces.
All of these themes are present in the latest redone schoolhouse to catch our attention: Lost Villa Qinyong hotel in a former primary school in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province in China, transformed by Shanghai-based architecture studio
Atelier XÜK. In a true instance of preserving the past while creating something usable and new, the architects built new timber structures around, within, and over the original sandstone bones of the unused school.
Take a look.
Photography by Hao Chen via Lost Villa Qinyong.
Above: “The village, which used to be notorious for being a ‘rotten village’ in the 1960s, was transformed under a specific historical circumstance,” the architects told ArchDaily. “At the height of the communism movement in the 1970s, the whole village was demolished and reconstructed and became the first strictly planned commune in the province.” Among the new structures built was the primary school, now hotel, shown here. Above: An example of the new millwork built around and above the masonry structure, all created in place by carpenters from the Jiangnan region. Above: Guest rooms are fitted with a series of wooden partitions and dividers, including a wood-and-glass “wash box” containing the bathroom and a raised platform that allows for all of the modern essentials to run beneath it without disturbing the building’s shell. Above: An unusual detail: a sunken stone garden atop the building’s original floor in one corner of a guest room. Above: A mirror doubles as a clever divider between sink and bed. In the background is an original blackboard, left intact. Above: A tidy sleeping alcove. All of the wood was salvaged from demolished houses in the area, reports Dezeen. Above: Another blackboard, a reminder of the building’s past. Above: The architects designed a new wood-clad dining area directly atop an existing sandstone wing. Note the ceiling-height windows that let in light and air. Above: Views of the village below.
For more places to go in China, see: