The project tackles a current social issue within the extensive urbanization process in China: the increasing urban-rural disparity. Currently the living conditions in large part of rural China are desperate for amelioration. Committed by the municipal government of Hangzhou in China, the project aims at providing 15,300 square meters of affordable housing for 50 households in Dongziguan Village.
The overall project budget is approximately 3 million USD, meaning an average construction cost of 190 USD / 1300 RMB per square meter. This budget is far below the average. How to design and construct quality housing for relocalized farmers with such a low budget, while maintaining their original lifestyle of collective living, becomes the major challenge of this project.
Different from typical bar-shaped highrises built for affordable housing in China, the project seeks to organize the form of the buildings in the vernacular style of a courtyard typology, a local traditional urban morphology. Every six different buildings in two basic units(11x21 and 16x14 m2) belonging to six different households, surround a courtyard as a place for communal communication and participation. Thus, it forms a cluster as a prototype for collective living. This reacts against previous affordable housing projects where traditional modes of communal living were not maintained.
The prototype varies in four different specific types in the overall site plan which generated through the aggregation of courtyards following a fundamental principle, providing shared open space. The siteplan also reflects the pattern of vernacular clusters in historical Chinese urban tradition.
Architects firstly conducted an investigation to communicate with different families for their living habits and the family structure, and then design the plan layout based on the common requests and information gained. The final layout besides meets the functional requirement, but also indicates a particular spatial order, from public to private towards north. Combined user's life style with traditional courtyard complex, three distinct courtyards (open frontyard, quiet courtyard and private backyard) are designed in a public to private spatial sequence.
The buildings are designed in a vernacular language with detailed considerations of the roof. The traditional dual-slope roof is developed into continuous slope roof asymmetrically, and matching the roofing lines for different clusters. There is a subtle contrast between the independence of the unit volume and the continuity of the roof of the cluster, where the diversity and unity coexist. Dark grey top and white walls, forming a strong contrast in the tone and composition. Wooden panels have been used for mediating the traditional bricks and the contemporary glass.
The design for construction explores the best usage of the brick, steel and glass to ensure the best thermal and ventilation performance. The 24cm brick wall is equipped with waterproof coating and hollow glass and the solid wall varies at the place of stairs with staggered pattern. The roof cantilever out aesthetically reminds the vernacular architectural style in Hangzhou, functionally as part of the shelter considering Hangzhou has a raining season.
The project brings an opportunity to regenerate the countryside besides providing quality affordable housing. Now different programs have been attracted to Dongziguan Village, inclusive of hotels and other recreational and commercial activities. The return of the young locals has greatly improved the vitality of the village. The forgotten village has reentered to everyone's vision.
gad·Line+ Studio is a innovation design practice. In the idea of Line+, design is not isolated but more should be understood as a diverse and individualized organic life. Line+ aims at breaking the boundary of traditional building industry. Footing on architecture design, we expect to achieve the boundaryless integration of urban planning, architecture design, interior design, product design, landscape design and project operation. We look forward to share the value of design with our partners.
From the creation of urban space to the revitalization of the rural civilization, we always thought critically and followed the regional cultural context, hoping to respond to contemporary culture and show its diverse content in our works. Line+ mainly works on urban public space, cultural tourism, high-end human settlement and rural rejuvenation projects. We dig into the potential value of the business logic, and strive to become a ferry man between culture and business.
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