Located at the foot of Taimu Mountain, Pingtung County, the Taiwu Elementary School is brimful of vibrant Paiwan culture. The school’s immense enthusiasm for indigenous culture finds vivid expression in the mosaic totem recounting the ancient story of the Paiwan’s origin, the slate house completed with the help of tribal elders, and the highly symbolic colored murals.
The subject of this renovation is the woodworking classroom on campus. Previously, owing to the lack of systematic planning and the insufficient storage space, students’ works and materials had nowhere to go but being stacked on the table and the floor. The objects of large bulk not only occupied the classroom space, but also eliminated the possibility of displaying the works.
The renovation strategy is designed to “project the images of carving at the table and reflect the imagination-laden scenes on the ceiling.”
We redirect the focus of the classroom back onto the children and their creative activities. The elevated storage area maximizes the availability of room for the activities below. Turning the fashion of display into spatial vocabulary, we highlight these ingenious works and cherished Paiwan stories in the film-like grids, which makes the finished works and ongoing ones shine more brilliantly in each other’s company.
The systematically integrated functions and the customized solid wood tables and tool trolleys work in tandem. The trolleys offer storage capacity for students’ unfinished works and carving tools apart from retaining mobility. Besides, the use of folding window opens up a new visual axis, hence connections with the slate house on the opposite side as well as interaction and dialogue with the campus, teachers and students. Furthermore, the reconfigured interior lighting and circulating fans improve the ventilation and visual integrity.
We expect this renovated woodworking classroom to satisfy the users’ needs in a more effective way, insofar as to enable the teachers and students at the Taiwu Elementary School to continue carving with their hands whereby they can perpetuate their sui generis and mesmerizing culture.