JN STUDIO (SEU-ARCH) - Village Center & Rural Park in Hengshan Township, blending rural lifestyle into nature
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Village Center & Rural Park in Hengshan Township, blending rural lifestyle into nature


Public Space  /  Completed

After several rounds of surveying and discussion, it was finally decided that the Village Center would be located in a prominent position at the entrance of the village, as an example and symbol of Hengshan’s revitalization. The lifted entrance and the large steps not only echo the topography of the environment but also strengthen the identity of the village entrance and serve as connection points between nature and town life. The design solves the problem of the site being lower than the road while creating functional platforms of different sizes for villagers and tourists to gather, rest, communicate, enjoy tea, and hold activities. The expanded ground floor space serves as the Museum of Village History, and the sloping roofs were formed in harmony with the surrounding farmhouses.

The site is located in the outer suburbs of Jiangning District, Nanjing. Although the surrounding mountain scenery is breathtaking, transportation is inconvenient and service facilities are lacking. The village’s economic condition has gradually declined in recent years. A consistent problem in Hengshan has been the lack of public spaces, both for residents and tourists. In addition, aspects of local culture and architecture in Hengshan are slowly but surely disappearing, replaced by the European “mansion” style of red brick and red tile with bay windows and column porches. One significant challenge was the site’s relatively low-lying status, sitting 1.8 meters below the main road which leads to the village’s south side.

Instead of being deliberately planned, the Rural Park was created by both the locals and the design team through the rearranging and reusing of discarded materials such as bamboo, gravel, and tires. It allows the Park to better be blended into nature, forming seemingly random scenes of rural life. The veranda adjacent to the big steps is a reinterpret of the open porches of local farmhouses, while the single and double slopes with varying lengths of the eaves suggest open communication space and staggered platforms. In terms of the material, the “humble” language formed by the local bamboo on the balustrades and ceiling, combined with the brick facade, crafts an interesting dialogue between old and new with the “delicate” white painted walls and glass curtain walls.

Hengshan Township Village Center & Rural Park is a project that involves the exploration of technical integrated construction methods and the assessment of the gradual renewal strategy for rural public space in China. Due to the location of a valley sandwiched by two mountains to the north and south, and the entrance of the village, the ground floor is lifted to create a main entrance platform for activities and gatherings and as a village entrance image. By arranging a museum for village history below, it enhances the centripetal of the Village Center. Located to the west of the Village Center, the Rural Park conforms closely to the natural environment and utilizes locally sourced materials and traditional construction techniques to carry on the unique culture of Hengshan. The overall design echoes the characteristics of the Village Center while establishing a new rural construction model that integrates local and natural.

The entrance square has become a new place for residents and tourists to have a rest, beat the heat, and chat with their neighbors. Meanwhile, the Rural Park has become a popular spot for children to play. The Village Center carries a composite function as the core of the township, not only to be an aesthetically pleasing part of the natural environment and village life but also to spur villagers to participate in revitalizing the village and awaken locals’ sense of identity to their homes.


 Hengshan Township, Nanjing City
 Village Committee of Hengshan Township, Hengxi Street, Jiangning District, Nanjing City
 Village Center & Rural Park
 917 mq
  261,579.39.00 €
 JIANG Nan, YUAN Weijun, JI Wenjuan, XIAO Yisu, LI Siyuan, LI Xiang
 Self-organized Construction Team of Hengshan Township Village Committee
 HOU Bowen, JIANG Nan


JN STUDIO (SEU-ARCH) is committed to deriving wisdom from traditional residential construction and applying it to contemporary architectural creations. Under the context of urban-rural sustainability and regional culture preservation, the design explores the heritage and innovation of contemporary architecture through the creation of quality spaces, while integrating the two-way interactions between academic research and design practice.

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