The approach aims to improve living conditions in buildings that are still inhabited by the indigenous community, and transform vacant buildings for other uses that restore identity and create fresh social and economic potential. The adaptations include a community theater for village opera performances and workshops (Shengping); a facility for agricultural production (Qifeng); a library (Binyang); and rammed-earth education workshop (Huoshao), for example.
By introducing fresh cultural and educational programs that are beneficial for the architectural heritage of the village and of its inhabitants, the architect refrains from a philological building restoration approach to advocate for a new building typology based on the tulou’s morphological characteristics. The existing voids are now used as terraces, courtyards and gardens that showcase how the vernacular typology of the tulou can be adapted to contemporary contexts and requirements that extend the impressive life cycle of the buildings and enshrine circular material flows.
Project Status: Under construction since January 2023.
An exemplary model for building conservation initiatives that advocates for a re-evaluation of the significance of existing vernacular structures - favoring repurposing over demolition.
Holcim Awards 2023 jury for Asia Pacific
The Holcim Awards 2023 jury for Asia Pacific considered this design project as an exemplary model for building conservation initiatives. They particularly valued the project's role in advocating for a re-evaluation of the significance of existing vernacular structures, favoring repurposing over demolition. Within the project’s core strength, the jury acknowledged the architect’s deep cultural insight, which translated into an innovative, community-focused program-driven strategy for adaptive reuse. The jury welcomed the project’s noteworthy expansion of purpose, moving beyond social housing to encompass contemporary public amenities and community centers. This comprehensive approach not only revitalizes rural villages but also establishes fresh social and economic prospects, renewing the identity of these areas.
Overall, the innovative nature of the program-based strategy for adaptive reuse of Tolou buildings was highly appreciated by the jury, as it was seen as transformative and transferrable to other regions across the world. Additionally, the jury found the project’s sustainability benchmarks to underscore its excellence, showcasing the author’s unwavering dedication to sustainable practices.