Toward the Bienniale: rural life as an urban cure - Archi-Union Architects | Hsieh Ying Chun | Dong Yugan | DnA_Design and Architecture | Seung H-Sang | Ryūe Nishizawa | Naturalbuild | Atelier Deshaus
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Toward the Bienniale: rural life as an urban cure

Archi-Union Architects | Hsieh Ying Chun | Dong Yugan | DnA_Design and Architecture | Seung H-Sang | Ryūe Nishizawa | Naturalbuild | Atelier Deshaus

Edited By Li Xiangning - 24 April 2018

Population explosion, traffic congestion, environmental pollution, and the tumultuous pace of city life are “urban diseases” afflicting many contemporary cities in many parts of the world. This is especially true of China, where cities have mushroomed over the past 30 years. As a result, an increasing number of scholars and architects have turned their attention to the city’s counterpart - the village, seeing a return to rural lifestyles in Utopian terms. In fact, the Chinese word for “nostalgia” (乡愁, or xiang chou) literally means “the memory of and desire for one’s village”. In response to the “FreeSpace” theme proposed for the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale by the exhibition’s two curators from Grafton Architects, Dr. Li Xiangning, curator of the China Pavilion has chosen to entitle his country’s exhibition “Building a Future Countryside”. More than twenty projects from Chinese villages will showcase construction in China’s contemporary villages and rural societies, cultural reconstruction, and explore future developments. The essential rural functions of dwelling and producing still continue to play an important role in rural construction today. Dong Yugan’s guest quarter and courtyard of house Erli reproduce the spatial distribution typical of the gardens of the Jiangnan region south of the Yangtze River, intertwining ancient cultural traditions with features harking back to pastoral ideals. The Yangliu Village reconstruction by Hsieh Ying Chun makes uses of cutting-edge industrialized production and logistics to “relocate” the rural living model. For the architect, our era resembles that faced in the early 20th Century by the Deutscher Werkbund. Today’s task, he says, is to provide new answers within an industrialized context. On this same theme, Xu Tiantian’s Brown Sugar Workshop (The Plan 100) in Zhangxi, Songyang County, recreates a community setting reflecting contemporary rural lifestyles within the framework of a pre-existing production plant. The “Songyang Story” is also the lead project of the exhibition “Rural Moves” now showing at Berlin’s Aedes Architecture Forum. Rural culture and tourism may become the two major engines of rural economic development. In rural villages in China’s southwest region of Guizhou, Chinese and international architects, including the Korean Seung H-Sang, and the Japanese Ryūe Nishizawa, have placed architecture at the service of a rural development model, building rural architecture studios, international construction workshops, cultural centers and libraries that are beginning to be a feature of the rural scene. In terms of tourist facilities, the town of Moganshan, in the region of Jiangnan is the first to offer contemporary Chinese guesthouses. The Lostvilla Boutique Hotel in Yucun by Shui Yanfei of Naturalbuild cleverly blends the architectural language of the traditional Chinese dwelling with contemporary features, remaining true to the Chinese dwelling pattern and fitting the building seamlessly into the landscape and natural gradient. How can the contemporary countryside retain the traditional community bonds forged in rural settings yet at the same time embrace contemporary technology? A successful example is the central kindergarten in the village of Xinchang in Tianquan County by Atelier Deshaus. This ensemble of buildings adds to the existing community services, which include a rural credit cooperative, a hospital and school. Built with common brickwork, the new complex has a highly logical yet child-friendly spatial distribution. Another example of a technical solution for future villages, In Bamboo project in the suburb of Chengdu, digitally designed by Archi-Union architect founder, Yuan Feng, was robot pre-fabricated off-site and transported to the village for rapid assembly. This efficient construction method adapted the traditional bamboo-crafted building techniques to contemporary systems. Likewise, Yuan Feng’s “Cloud City” - the outdoor venue of the Chinese Pavilion - is a rural market space. Created with 3D printing technology, it gives an immersive experience of how the latest construction techniques can be employed in contemporary rural public spaces in China. Everything indicates that the countryside will not simply become a replica of the city, or necessarily be engulfed by urban sprawl. Rather, it will be a new type of village making use of contemporary construction technology, cultural rejuvenation and logistics, and so, possibly, a means of healing the urban diseases of huge cities, and of looking to the future with more confidence.

Tag
#Li Hian  #Su Shengliang  #Chen Hao   #Dong Yugan  #Wang Ziling  #Nie Chen  #Lin Bian  #2018  #Atelier Deshaus  #Naturalbuild  #Ryūe Nishizawa   #Seung H-Sang   #DnA_Design and Architecture  #Dong Yugan  #Hsieh Ying Chun   #Archi-Union Architects  #Letter from China  #The Plan 106 

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