Wencun Village – A Renovation
The Chinese architecture like Chinese tradition, is as old as the Chinese civilization.
Both graphic and literary information strongly suggests that Chinese have always been fond of an ethnic and original construction system that has retained its main features from prehistoric times to date.
The architecture in Chinese tradition focuses on bilateral symmetry and articulation that indicates balance. And this can be witnessed everywhere in the Chinese architecture from palaces to farmhouses. During its long-term development, Chinese architecture manifested into a style that boasted a blend of timber-work and stone carving, bucket arch buildings among rammed earth construction and various other techniques.
Whenever somebody partakes in renovation of a Chinese building they try to embed as many features of the original Chinese tradition and that is what Wang Shu and Lu Wenyu did. Deriving inspiration from local material and the Chinese architecture, this team was able to mirror the looks of a rural Chinese village. The rural villages and towns are dwindling as China is going towards more urbanized living approach. Along with rural living, these few remaining examples of the Chinese tradition, living and architecture are fading as well and in order to preserve this centuries old Chinese tradition, both Lu and Wang have teamed up for renovation of a rural Chinese village.
New buildings are being designed that are based on the original Chinese architecture to breathe new life in these areas. The first renovation of a Chinese village has been carried out in the village Wencun that homes 1800 residences in the Zhejiang province. The couple discussed the renovation of the village with its residents and felt they wanted bigger, better and newer living space.
Wang and Lu utilized bamboo, earth and the historic stone constructed buildings and started on the extension towards the western edge of village. The aim was of building 30 new residences that were to be spread across 14 three and four story buildings. The renovation gave a contemporary feel but local materials were used in the traditional courtyard style.
The new buildings include storage space for farm tools, workshop, and a living room for watching TV along with a shrine to ancestors. Furthermore, to blend the new constructions with the rest of the village, both Wang and Lu took help from the local homeowners to rebuild and renovate their self-built houses nestled in the older village section.
Apart from new living spaces, Wang Shu and Lu Wenyu hav added new pavilions, bridges as well as a school in order to boost the aesthetics of Wencun village. The aim of this step to renovate and intervene is to create a model for other such Chinese villages by keeping the rural Chinese tradition and architecture alive with its diversity.
Among the new residences, 18 are now occupied by the villagers and 12 are now used as an inn. This is also an initiative taken with the hopes to enhance the tourism. The couple’s main goal was to keep Wencun village thriving with the rural Chinese architecture and maintain it.
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