Building a Future Countryside – The China Pavilion | 16th Venice Biennale 2018
Curator: Li Xiangning
The China Pavilion, 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale; the “Cloud Village” 3d printed outdoor installation by Archi-Union Architects; photo © Inexhibit
Building a Future Countryside – The China Pavilion | 16th Venice Architecture Biennale 2018
At the 16th Venice Biennale of Architecture, the Chinese pavilion presents an ambitious exhibition focused on the rural development of China’s immense countryside
Entitled Building a Future Countryside and curated by Li Xiangning – professor at Tongji University College of Architecture and Urban Planning – the primary aim of the exhibition is to investigate how such development could combine modernization with tradition in a “non-vernacular” way, far from that nostalgia for a pastoral past that the Chinese call “xiangchou”.
Therefore, the 2018 Chinese Pavilion highlights a number of exemplary projects by contemporary architects from China envisioning “a future countryside”, sorting them into six thematic sections: Production, Tourism, Community, Culture, Dwelling, and Future.
The projects on view demonstrate how architectural and urban development is a key element in building new opportunities for people living in rural lands, along with showing how Chinese contemporary architecture is increasingly more capable to create highly original architectural designs by combining references to China’s architectural heritage and traditional building techniques with technological and conceptual innovation.
Each of the exhibition’s sections was developed by an architect (or architectural office) invited to create a site-specific installation featuring four to five projects. The invited architects are Dong Yugan, Zhang Lei, Liu Yuyang, Hua Li, Rural Urban Framework, and Philip F. Yuan.
General view of the China Pavilion, 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale; photos © Inexhibit
Plan of the exhibition; images courtesy of the China Pavilion at 16th Venice Biennale 2018
Building A future Countryside – The China Pavilion, 16th Venice Architecture Biennale 2018, installation views; photos © Inexhibit
The China Pavilion, the installation “in bamboo” designed by Philip F. Yuan from Archi-Union Architects; photos © Inexhibit
Some of the most interesting projects on view include:
Jintai Village by John Lin + Hoshua Bolchovel, Rural Urban Framework.
A rural development comprising 22 houses, accommodation for chicken and pigs, and a community center, all built with local materials and featuring sustainable solutions including terraced green roofs, biogas technologies, natural ventilation, and waste-water treatment.
Jintai Village; photo Rural Urban Framework
Taiyang Organic Farming Commune by Chen Haoru, Cityarc Design Office.
Located in a village with 140 peasant households, this pig barn – including special dormitory, feeding area, outdoor toilet, external field and swimming pool – was built by local workers using locally-sourced materials, mostly giant bamboo picked in the mountainous area nearby and pebbles from a near rivulet. The design process took into account both the animals’ behavior and habits and the need to plan rotational grazing in order to provide the pigs with environmental-friendly food.
Pig Barn of the Taiyang Organic Farming Commune / Chen Haoru. Image © Lu Hengzhong
Jianamani Visitor Center by Zhang Li, Atelier TeamMinus
On April 14, 2010, a major earthquake hit the Yushu county, thirty-five square kilometers of the area were badly damaged and almost twenty-seven hundred people were killed. This led the local authority to issue a plan aimed to rebuild Yushu and improve the original quality of the town though ten key projects; the visitor center for the Jianamani Tibetan Buddhist cairn is one of the most notable among them. The center accommodates exhibitions focused on the Tibetan Buddhism religious culture, provides information about Jianamani and its history to visitors, and contains a post office, a clinic, public toilets and a small research archive for the local community.
Jianamani Visitor Center; photos Atelier TeamMinus
Jianamani Visitor Center, a model on view in the 2018 China Pavilion; photo © Inexhibit
Shimen Bridge by Xu Tiantian, DnA Design and Architecture
The project created a new superstructure for the Shihmen Wei Bridge, an abandoned vehicular viaduct built in the 1970s which transformed the structure into a pedestrian bridge. Inspired by China’s traditional timber architecture, the new wood porch, along with reducing the structural loads on the old bridge’s structure, provides protection from sunlight and rain to the people walking on the bridge and allows beautiful views on the surrounding natural scenery.
Shimen Bridge; photo © Ziling Wang
Wuyishan Bamboo Raft Factory by Hua Li, Trace Architecture Office
The Wuyishan Bamboo Raft Factory is a manufacturing and storage facility for bamboo rafts, to be used by tourists on the nearby rivers, located in a rural village in the province of Fujian. To create a construction based on principles of localization and economy, for the building the architects adopted cast-in-place concrete for the structure, hollow concrete blocks for the exterior wall system, cement tile as roofing material, and bamboo and wood for sun-shading elements, doors, windows and handrails; furthermore, such materials have been left almost unfinished in order to let their natural character emerge.
Wuyishan Bamboo Raft Factory, photos © Su Shengliang
Xinchang village’s central kindergarten by Chen Yifeng + Liu Yichun, Atelier Deshaus
The Xinchang village central kindergarten is one of the kindergartens that Open Foundation donated to the disaster area of 2013 Lushan earthquake. Surrounded by mountains, the site is a relatively small platform in the northwest of the village. The entire kindergarten is conceived as a “village” and is divided into nine isolated “cottages” enclosing a U-shape courtyard. The courtyard and the buildings’ facades are paved and clad with locally-produced shale bricks, endowing the place with a strong sense of artificiality. Hence, on the one hand, the design stands apart from nature; on the other hand, it forms an inseparable ensemble with the sky, the platform, the nearby villages, and the mountains in the distance.
Xinchang Village central kindergarten, inner plaza. Image © Su Shengliang
In Bamboo by Philip F. Yuan, Archi-Union Architects
In Bamboo is located in Daoming Town, Sichuan Province. It is a rural construction project designed and fabricated by Philip F. Yuan and his team at the beginning of 2017. Daoming Town is well known for its enduring tradition of bamboo-weaving. In Daoming, the practice of weaving is more than a rural industry, it is an integral part of the way families in the town spend time together and how neighbors visit with each another. The traditional Daoming Bamboo-Weaving craft is a living cultural heritage with much in store to offer contemporary ways of living and making.
In Bamboo is a multi-functional rural community cultural center with provisions for exhibitions, hosting conferences, community gathering, as well as dining and recreation. It integrates the site with the surrounding villages and the natural ecology. The project also explores the interaction of the city with new rural construction. It practices the integration of new construction technology with local craft, combining traditional construction techniques with prefabricated industrialization.
In Bamboo / Philip F. Yuan; the panel on exhibition in the China Pavilion at the Venice Biennale; photo © Inexhibit
In Bamboo / Philip F. Yuan. Image © Bian Lin
The Cloud Village 3D-printed installation by Archi-Union Architects
Additionally, a 3d-printed structure called Cloud Village – conceived by Archi-Union Architects and whose design was inspired by the entrance of a traditional Chinese village, is installed in the outdoor space of the pavilion, within the “Giardino delle VeginI” garden, to serve as a meeting / socializing space for the Biennale visitors.
The China Pavilion, 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale; the “Cloud Village” 3d printed outdoor installation by Archi-Union Architects; photos © Inexhibit
16th Venice Architecture Biennale 2018 – pavilions, program, events
16th Venice Architecture Biennale 2018 – pavilions, program, events
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