Hangzhou | Rammed Earth Architecture

School of Architecture, China Academy of Art | Hangzhou, december 2011

On December 20-21, the School of Architecture – China Academy of Art, in Hangzhou 杭州  – hosted the 1st International Symposium ‘Localized Architecture Resources and Innovational Development‘. Under the theme ´The Protection and Redevelopment of Rammed Earth Architecture夯土建筑保护与再发展, various presentations were held; followed by the opening of ‘People’s Architecture’-exhibition, presenting works of Taiwanese architect Hsieh Ying-Chun 謝英俊. Invited by Wang Shu 王澍 & Lu Wenyu 陆文宇 [amateur architecture studio 业余建筑工作室], MovingCities participated in this 2-day event.

The conference focused on following four aspects:

1.    The protection and redevelopment of rammed earth & architectural education;
2.    The protection and redevelopment of rammed earth & protection of architectural legacy;
3.    How to utilize laboratory platform to promote internationally the protection and redevelopment of rammed earth;
4.    Original and innovative practices of rammed earth architecture and vernacular architecture.

Since last year, the CAA School of Architecture set up a Sustainable Construction Laboratory of which the protection and redevelopment of rammed architecture is one basis of collaboration between the school lab and CRATerre – based in Grenoble, France – a UNESCO Chair Earthen Architecture.

Since 1979, CRATerre, the International Center for Earthen Architecture, has worked towards the recognition of earth materials as a valid response to the challenges linked to the protection of the environment, the preservation of cultural diversity and the fight against poverty. Prof. Anne-Monique Bardagot presented first the work of CRATerre and the yearly Festival Grains d’Isère – where various workshops, exhibitions and other activities take place around the subject of earthen architecture.

Followed by a presentation by Mu Jun 穆钧 [Associate Prof. College of Architecture, Xi’an University of Architecture & Technology 西安建筑科技大学建筑学院] about the ‘Practical Study of Earth Architecture in Poor Rural Western China’. In his talk, Mu Jun touched upon the traditional rammed earth architecture in China, the misunderstanding about earthen constructions as a type of poverty architecture; and finally, showed a couple of case-studies – such as the Maan Qiao Village Rebuild Demonstration Project [in Sichuan] and the Maosi Ecological Demonstration Primary School  [2008 Design for Asia Award – Sustainability  (pdf!); see more at imagineschooldesign.org].
The last conference lecture was held by Hsieh Ying-Chun 謝英俊 [2011 Curry Stone Design Grand Prize Winner], who showed his open simple and cooperative self-build constructions in Taiwan and in China. Afterwards the ‘People’s Architecture, The Question of Housing for 70% of Humanity-exhibition opened. From his profile on the 2011 Curry Stone Design-website:

Hsieh establishes a cooperative network of designers, local contractors, and residents that supports and sustains local needs. His simple designs ensure that every villager, from the youngest child to the eldest grandparent, can have a hand in building their own home.

On the construction site, Hsieh acts as a facilitator, teaching community members how to join lightweight steel or wood into stable framing elements. When the frames are built and inspected, dozens of people gather to erect the pieces, barn-raising style, using low-tech tools and collaboration to get the job done.

On the second day of the symposium, the topic was further discussed and work shown and discussed at the Sustainable Construction Laboratory  by Marc Auzet & Juliette Goudy /CRATerre, Lu Wenyu & Zhang Wen & Chen Lichao/members from the laboratory, MovingCities and Professor Peter Tagiuri.

School of Architecture, China Academy of Art | Hangzhou, december 2011
第一届“乡土建筑资源与创新性发展”大型国际学术系列论坛 夯土建筑保护与再发展

Pictures by movingcities.org

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