Wiki World has been working on community-based architecture and co-building projects in worldwide. In 2020, we accepted the invitation of the Yongtai County People’s Government and the Yongtai County Rural Revitalization Foundation to preside over the design of the Cultural and Art Festival. As the third-year practice of the Foundation and the “Love Yongtai Project”, the Building Festival will provide landscape architecture that activates rural cultural tourism and landscape facilities that better serve the villagers. This is not a static architectural design and construction, but to complete the design and construction together with villagers and volunteers, and continue to jointly operate the cultural tourism content required by the village in the future.
Yongtai Earth Castle was built in Tang Dynasty and continued to develop during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. The total number of historical peaks exceeded 2000. Yongtai has the largest number of rammed Earth Castles in China. There are 152 existing well-protected buildings, 98 of which cover an area of more than 1,000 square meters. Therefore, Yongtai is also known as the “town of architecture”. The project is located in the rice field in front of the 190-year-old Qingshizhai gate. Above the ridge, we use prefabricated glulam to build rice pavilions. They are not only a better view of Qingshizhai’s landscape architecture but also future villagers’ production and holding the venue for cultural activities as a new social center.
The idea of the co-building festival has received strong support from the government and villagers. We openly issued an invitation: “Put down the phone, close the computer, and pick up the hammer. Here we are, friends and workers.” We received hundreds of registration of volunteers. On September 26, at the entrance of Qingshizhai, in the rice fields, more than 60 friends and volunteers completed the construction of the rice pavilion. We hope to see the children in the village climbing and playing on the buildings. We hope to see the peasants hanging peppers and corn on the rice pavilions. We hope that the villagers will see more people coming here and witness the changes in the countryside.
Build like LEGO. The rice pavilion A is a triangular space with a flat side of 3.6 meters. It is built with a single block glulam material with a thickness of 9cm. We designed specific opening windows to watch the Qingshizhai and rice fields. We hope that visitors can stay here for rest. We designed the roof as a small terrace, which is a great place to overlook the traditional village. The rice pavilion B is a landscape building extending on the ridge. It is constructed with a 95mm-wide glulam frame system. The platform has a width of 1.4 meters and a height of 2.6 meters, providing a growable facade system in the future. The pavilion allows more tourists to enter the rapeseed field in spring and the rice field in autumn while supporting rich local folk activities.
All the buildings adopt the glulam assembly system based on digital technology design and manufacturing. Through the tenon and bolt connection, “zero” concrete is our consistent attitude towards nature. We train and organize our volunteer team through grouping. More than 60 people are divided into 5 groups. Like a Lego game, everyone has completed tool learning, material numbering, and on-site construction in the rain. Digital timber Lego provided a guarantee for this time-critical projects. We managed to complete the design, production, processing and transportation, and on-site construction in 16 days.
Co-build: a sustainable future of everyone, for everyone, and by everyone. At HABITAT III in Quito in 2017, more than two hundred countries participating in the meeting jointly signed the “New Urban Agenda”, proposing a common human vision for sustainable urban and rural areas in the future. China is also continuing to contribute to the goals of rural revitalization and rural sustainable development. Our project is also part of the “Urban Thinker Campus “ with UN-HABITAT. Thanks to the École Nationale Supérieure d’architecture de Grenoble and the Swiss Open Urbanism Foundation’s long-standing cooperation and support. As a promoter of the “21st Century Village” project in China, we will continue to contribute “co-building sustainable villages” and “build with local communities and global resources” in the future.
More than 100 volunteers from Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Hainan, Fujian joined and supported our whole project. They are alumni of CEIBS, alumni of Tongji University, experts, scholars, and professors from some universities in Fujian as well as the old folks from Yong Tai County.
Our co-building festival is the end of even but a new beginning of the village. After the autumn harvest, the villagers put up a big Chinese “Fortune” on the rice pavilion. The haystack house was decorated with red pepper strings and red lanterns. Now it is a place for villagers to gather and children to play, attracting many passing people to stop and join.
It will become a cole flower field in spring,
The rice pavilion will be together with the blooming flowers,
Protecting new harvest from summer until another autumn,
What will be the new looks of this place?
Peasants are keen to more goodness.