DnA_Design and Architecture
The local authorities of Songyang, a county 280 km southwest of Hangzhou, invited Xu Tiantian of DnA_Design and Architecture to explore villages in the county and respond to their needs. The goals were to improve amenities while strengthening their sense of identity, and to draw more visitors to the idyllic landscapes of this region.
Over the past five years, Xu has designed 30 structures, abstracting traditional forms, connecting to context and heritage, and harnessing craft skills. She likens the program to acupuncture - an insertion that radiates energy through the body - and considers it to be a
socio-economic venture as much as architecture. There is an extraordinary range of typologies - from workshops to memorial halls, museums to a covered bridge - using materials as varied as steel and rammed earth, brick and stone masonry, bamboo and glass.
The Dushan Leisure Centre is the latest of these interventions: a cylindrical wood structure serving locals and visitors. Ramps link the main levels and extend out to provide overlooks - of a river and a temple that crowns the isolated peak of Mount Dushan. The timber was imported from Canada, but the gridded screens and organic forms have deep local roots, and the interior spaces host a diversity of cultural activities. Thanks to Xu, Songyang has become a widely celebrated showcase, inspiring other provincial authorities to take similar initiatives. There is a direct link between the need to enhance the livability of remote villages to encourage people to stay on the land, and the reinvigoration of urban villages embedded in a metropolis.
Location: Songyang, Zhejiang Province, China - Client: Songyang Tourism Development - Architect: DnA_Design and Architecture
Principal Architect: Xu Tiantian - Completion Date: 2018
Photography by Ziling Wang
All images courtesy of DnA_Design and Architecture