Text description provided by the architects. Situated on the outskirts of Peitian Village, Fujian Province, China and designed to be constructed without the use of mechanical fasteners, “Wind and Rain Bridge” is a reciprocal interlocking timber structure which draws on the long tradition of wooden buildings native to the region. Each of the bridges’ 265 elements is unique and integral, assembled under the supervision of traditional carpenters, who number some of the few remaining exponents of their craft.
Peitian is one of a number of isolated rural villages distributed throughout the mountainous regions of southern China, which, following severe flooding in early 2014 saw much of the infrastructure linking its disparate communities destroyed. This project aims to reconnect Peitian village to that historic network of routes that link these isolated settlements.
The bridge creates a community space, located in the heart of the village’s fertile farmland, where local people can socialize and exchange. Opening outward towards the village, the bridge negotiates the variable terrain and provides a place of respite from Peitian’s changeable climate.
This project seeks to offer an alternative mode of community redevelopment that references local crafts and traditions, and utilizes sustainable materials and methods, to create both social and physical infrastructure. Critical to this process is the integration of digital design methodologies, which allow for the planning and testing of complex assemblies. The high level of training and labor associated with these assemblies has been a barrier to the continued viability of complex, long-span, timber structures in China and other developing and transitioning economies.
Supported by the Gallant Ho Experiential Learning Fund, and integrated within the University of Hong Kong’s introduction to architectural design course, The Peitian bridge project took 70 students to southern Fujian to aid in the construction of this community structure.