Text description provided by the architects. Qinmo Village is a remote rural village located in the North-West of Guangdong Province. Due to industrialized urbanization the majority of able-bodied villagers have migrated to factory towns in the south. The remaining population of the very old and the very young lead a predominantly subsistence life growing rice and keeping pigs and chickens. Farming is no longer a key economic driver as the villagers now rely on remittances being sent back from their relatives working in the factories. The objective is the long-term sustainable development of the village through a series of projects that introduce education and changes in methods of agricultural production to shift the village away from a position of reliance towards economic self–sufficiency.
The project is aimed at the long-term sustainable development of a rural Chinese village. It is a prototype for a village school which goes beyond mere building construction by integrating educational programs and sustainable concepts. Initiated in 2006 as part of a design workshop to re-think the standard 3 story concrete buildings which are typically donated as schools in rural areas, the proposed design stressed sustainability and ecological responsibility. Designed to blend into the environment of farming terraces, the roof is also used as a community garden related to the classrooms below. The school itself takes shape through a process of cut and filled earth along an existing rice terrace. A continuous series of steps extends from the basketball court onto the roof creating a new public space in the village. The villagers participated by painting the individual bricks for the facade.
The project involves the renovation of an old courtyard school building into a community center and demonstration eco-household. The new program includes a meeting room, dormitory, large dining area, communal kitchen and office space. The center is used by villagers and as a place to host eco-workshops and volunteers. The demonstration household farm includes pigs and chickens, a greenhouse and a selection of vegetables. Expertise in setting up the farm came from staff of Kadoorie farms in Hong Kong.