KNOWLEDGE

We draw lessons from our projects and share them, along with other relevant know-how, research findings and experience, with project partners so as to promote exchange, mutual learning and reflective culture.
There are several questions we need to think about when redefining rural architecture. What attitude and approach should an architect have, before setting foot in the countryside? How should he or she revitalize and reshape the local culture in the form of architecture? And most importantly, what kind of architecture do local people, who have lived here for generations, need the most?

We sat down with Kuo Jze Yi of Insitu Project and talked about the journey and stories behind the establishment of “House of Dreams”.

Project partners

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Exploring the history, culture and social value of the countryside in a multi-dimensional way is a fundamental factor when it comes to preserving the diverse and unique culture of the countryside. To revitalize the countryside is not simply to copy and paste what we have in the city, nor to make the architecture “look beautiful”.

In the interview, the architect talked about his understanding of rural architecture and community development.

Project partners

zhoushan_c_en
In recent years, many towns and villages that brand themselves with special artistic characteristics have sprung up at unexpected speed. This has triggered a huge increase in people’s interest in village tourism. However, due to the unnecessary demolition and re-construction, many places have gradually lost their cultural and traditional aspects, while the newly constructed touristic buildings no longer arose people’s interest due to their lack of authentic character. If the villagers who have lived here for generations lose their collective memories and love for their native land, the local culture will not be able to transi- tion to the next generation and the village will gradually lose its vitality and its “soul”.

In 2002, Liang Jun’s team, composed of several retired teachers and women cadres came to Zhoushan Village – a village located in Daye Town, Dengfeng City of Henan Province – to carry out “people-oriented” community education. From knowing little about architecture to becoming a communication bridge between architects and villagers, Liang Jun talked about her understanding of rural architecture and how she has successfully persuaded and initiated villagers to build their homeland.

Project partners

zhoushan_c_en
The Global Status Report published by the United Nations Environment Programme pointed out that shifting from reinforced concrete to composite material, wood and other natural building materials could reduce carbon emissions from residential buildings. With more measures been taken to tackle the climate change globally, bamboo, as a natural material is gaining prominence in the architecture industry.

Millions of people were forced to leave their homes due to the increasing climatic hazards that have happened over the past 20 years. In order to improve the quality of post-disaster relief, the team BJTU+, who is one of the participants in the 2021 Solar Decathlon China (SDC) competition, went to Zi Zhong County in Sichuan Province, a county that has been heavily affected by the flood, to further explore the post-disaster relief plans in line with the international system.

Project partners

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Natural disasters have occurred frequently across the world in recent years. Beyond the physical and emotional toll imposed on the affected population, they also lead to displacement and a settlement period that can go on for a long time. Therefore, housing solutions that can provide a comfortable living environment in the immediate aftermath of disasters become an urgent demand. After the eld research in the earth- quake-affected region with his team, Mr Chen Huanyu, an architect, comes up with some new thinking on post-disaster settlement and proposes plans in improving post-disaster housing solutions.

Project partners

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The story of climate-friendly rammed earth construction

On 30th August 2008, a strong earthquake shook Panzhihua City at the intersection of Sichuan and Yunnan. Situated in Xin’an Township, Huili County, Liangshan Prefecture of Sichuan Province, Ma’anqiao Village was among the hardest hit areas. In response, the author, as part of the team from the Wu Zhi Qiao (Bridge to China) Charitable Foundation (“WZQ Foundation”), carried out a humanitarian mission. The experience has since inspired her exploration of the research on and demonstrations of traditional rammed earth housing, and further motivated her search for possibilities of utilising rammed earth construction for climate change mitigation.

Project partner

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How did a Once-Dying Folk Art Reinvigorate a Remote Village in Northwest China

Community culture plays a pivotal role in rural development and often serves as a signi cant starting point of the efforts in this respect. The inheritance of community culture, bene ting people in an invisible manner, is no less important than infrastructure improvement that brings tangible fruits. This is especially true for a village in northwest China: a traditional folk art has been reborn due to a eld research interview, which in turn gives a new life to the village.

Project partner

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When the new social norm became a ubiquity in the village, with all men leaving for the city to work, the women who have been left behind have to make their way in supporting the family. Their emotional health as well as their confusions and dif culties are however often ignored. Raising gender awareness and promoting gender equality have become key components in the development of the rural community. As such, community workers are experimenting with different ways to empower women, with square dancing as one of them.

Project partner

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Plastic waste, a worldwide conundrum, calls for effective degradation methods and recycling techniques. In recent years, Ecobricks has gained popularity in developing countries as its production makes full use of plastic waste. Will such a creative approach of “turning waste into wealth” become the way out for the plastic waste? It is our hope to explore the possibility with more people by sharing knowledge and information we collected.

There are many ways to encourage rural community development. A direction worth exploring is how to rediscover the rural spirit during rapid changes, as well as quickly establishing rapport and generating enthusiasm within the villagers. Currently, there are social workers using festivals as an entry point to reshape waning cultural traditions and make it an important part of community building.

Project partner

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