The Secret Base in a Small Town, China by JLA Studio

“I will take you to a place, it is my secret base”

Project Specs


非常感谢 浙江玖瓴建筑设计有限公司 对gooood的分享。
Appreciation towards JLA Studio for providing the following description:


The sun has never appeared, are you going home today? -Who said it to me is myself. I will take you to a place, it is my secret base, in where is everything about me. It has nothing to do with the sun, but the deep sea, the galaxy, the most beautiful dream. – Who said it is another myself.

▼秘密基地概览,overview of the secret base


The project is located in Shijing Village, Guanlu Town, Taizhou City, Zhejiang Province. It is an abandoned space by the countryside, lying in a small town. The starting point of our design is how to let more possibilities of events happen in this place. The site is located on the main road from school to village, the venue is the only way for students to go to school. We consider these children as the main users of the site.

▼秘密基地整体鸟瞰,aerial view of the secret base


The Secret Base could belong to any child,it may be just a tree hole or a small street corner,in where they could collect their treasures and look for each other’ s. A secret base is a place where everything could be created for a child. It is the universe of their inner world.

▼“秘密基地”是每个小孩都拥有的一个场所,the ‘Secret Base’ could belong to any child

▼小朋友与秘密基地互动,interaction between children and secret base


Material forms are consistent with our design. We choose hard red bricks and soft sand as two main materials. The material feelings presented the both sides of our deeper self.Red brick means order, stationary and unchangeable, sandy land means desire, flow and changeability. There is a strong contrast between extremely hard and extremely soft.The freedom of sand and the nature of children is an ego state: impulse and nature, desire and release; The order of red brick and the restraint of adults is a “beyond ego” state: order and rules, restraint and restraint. This is a negotiation between “self ego” and “beyond ego”, a self-formation.

▼砖与沙的设计概念,brick and sand design concept


Red bricks|Boundary


▼红砖区域分析,analysis of red brick areas

We also have red bricks to built some seats, steps, stages, walls for villagers to rest, and a semi-private brick box, which been set as a boundary to limit sand.

▼红砖材料表达着场地秩序,red bricks present the order of the site

▼红砖材料砌筑出多样功能的空间,red bricks create spaces with different functions

▼村民休息的座位,seats for people to rest here

▼一个半私密的砖盒,a semi-private brick box




▼沙区域分析,analysis of sand areas

For children sandy land seems to show a special magic, it is only a common material, but with these children, it becomes to present infinite possibilities. We want to encourage children to explore the real world more than just play in the virtual world. Therefore, we put the sandy land in activity space which is close to the “real natural world”. The interactional relationship between adults and children is reflected in red brick and sand.

▼基地置入了与“地”亲触的沙地活动空间,sandy land is put in the activity space which is close to the “real natural world”

场地中的沙池分成了三个小区域,他们分别为开放、半开放与私密,三种状态。第一部分为0.8m高的矮墙与砖砌椅子;第二部分为2.2m高的砖盒子;第三部分为墙高1.5m的镂空砖墙。尺寸与尺度在成人与小孩之间互换,座椅—舞台 矮墙—高墙 沙坑—世界,丰富的场所满足小孩内心活动的不同映射。

The sand pool in the site is divided into three small areas, which are open, semi-open and private, respectively.
The first part is 800mm wall and brick chair; the second part is 2200mm height brick box; the third part is 1500mm height hollow brick wall. Dimensions and scales are exchanged between adults and children, seats – stage, low walls – high wall, sand pool – the world, spaces to form a contrast, continuous and other rich spatial combination to meet children’s different inner activities.

▼沙池分为高度不同的三个小区域,the site is divided into three small areas with different heights


▼起初村民对基地持怀疑态度,在这里活动较少,villagers hold suspicion of new things and few people would stay here

After a few days of observation, from the beginning of the suspicion of new things, the villagers toward to unconscious gathering and communication. Children are gathered and played here since they are built, and at the same time, their parents are encouraged to join them.

▼几天后,村民们在这里聚集,在这里进行各种活动,after a few days, villagers are gathered here and interact with the site




After the project was completed, we saw a lot of interesting conversations in the venue. The activities of the venue and the characters added a new life exchange in the village.

▼孩子们将这里作为游戏场,the secret base acts as a playground for children


Kid: I hid my treasure, can you find it? You can’t!

▼情景A-藏宝,SCENE A-hiding treasures


Parent: What are you looking for?
Kid: Shells! There are a lot of shells here!

▼情景B-寻觅,SCENE B-finding


Parent: You may be not allowed to here anymore. Since you got mess of sand every time you went back home from here.
Kid: (Pouting)

▼情景C-训斥,SCENE C-scolding


(Parent who is passing by with a child in arms)
Kid: Granny! I wanna play there for a while. So many schoolmates over there!

▼情景D-请求,SCENE D-asking


The feature of the site consists of children’s words (hand language) and Adults peep.This case is a microcosm of China’s rural land (idle space). Due to the constraints of economic conditions, the total cost of the case is 20,000 yuan, and the construction period is only two weeks. By this low cost and short construction period, we hope to gradually enhance the vitality of the countryside through activation of some sites.

▼小孩的话语(手上的语言),成人的窥视,组成这个场地的场所特征,the feature of the site consists of children’s words (hand language) and adults‘ peep

▼场地区位,site location

Project Name: The Secret Base in a Small Town
Location: Shijing Village, Guanlu Town, Xianju County, Taizhou City, Zhejiang Province
Built in: 2019.01
Area: 98 square meters
Team: LIU baoshan, Zhuo zhijie, Sun qifa
Design: JLA Studio
Main material: Red brick、Sand
Photography: Qiu Ripei-AD Photography ,QU xueyi

More:  浙江玖瓴建筑设计有限公司 

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