Text description provided by the architects. The implementation of beautiful countryside has brought a better environment to the villages and towns. The old buildings have been renovated at a very low cost, which accord with governments’ desire. New regeneration of houses can rebuild developed value, satisfy the development and continues the vitality of the traditional old villages.
Bulu Town is 7 kilometers away from Xianju, with Yongan river passing though. Since ancient times, a barrier stone road has become the only way to reach the county town. It is surrounded by mountains and located at the mouth of the canyon, which is more than a hundred miles deep, so it is called "Bulu Village".
Although the scale of village construction is not large, it has most of the characteristics of the current development of villages and towns.The newly-built market towns coexist with the old villages, presenting a totally different appearance. Meihu as the center, new town streets are located along the west of town road and old villages on the east. The old villages are almost been abandoned and most villagers have moved out. Just leave some elderly and become increasingly isolate.
In the field survey, it is known that children lack after-school learning space; villagers lack leisure exchange places; the local paper-cut artists need work and exhibition space. Therefore, two buildings have been chosen to be renovated near Mei Lake to satisfy the needs and integrate into people’s lives and become the landmark of Mei Lake area.
Similar as other villages, Bulu town is under planning and renovating such as leveling roadbed, managing pope network, improving environment and elevation etc..In response to the new policy of beautiful countryside, Bulu just works on its schedule. After planning, the government vigorously renovate the street environment and municipal facilities, which become the foundation of countryside development. Then, the old building reform have become the next focus.The construction of non-profit public space is often a thorny problem for the government because the budget needs to be controlled and effectively utilized to reactive old buildings and villages.
Based on the site status and budget, two typical buildings were selected for reconstruction.One building as paper-cut art workshop is actually a newly rebuilt courtyard but needs further renovation. The previous investment should be effectively utilized under the control of the overall budget. Another book bar is located at the lakeside street corner which is a important position of the tour line around the lake. It can accommodate more people on the main line of the village traffic and convenience villagers.
Paper-cut Art Workshop
Paper-cut Art Workshop which is originally a brick-wood building has an deep and irregular foreyard.The courtyard wall is close to Meihu Lake, but still isolated. As a architecture for Non-Heritage Folk Art, it is not only be a container for traditional materials, but also a place to accept more scenery of Mei Lake and villagers.The design tries to break the original closed courtyard wall and form a silhouette visual effect by filtering the scenery with grilles. People can see Mei Lake though the courtyard, while the courtyard can been glimpsed on the opposite.
At the same time, the yard has been divided into two parts, front yard and center yard with the exhibition hall in the middle. The hall opens towards Mei Lake, which seems to be an extension. A bench is set at the entrance of the junction between the exhibition hall and the yard wall grille for people to rest and enjoy the scenery. The experience to enter the studio though two courtyard and the path with rotated grille is like a description of paper-cut, which make visitors easier to understand local tradition and paper-cut technique. The visit line of the front yard - Pavilion - courtyard - Exhibition Hall - workshop makes the original single closed courtyard have more layers and content, which makes the Paper-cut Workshop not only a place for display, but more of life.
The building for book bar is relatively old. The structure has begun unstable so that the maintenance and reconstruction are more inclined to recycling and reuse of material. It is divided into three floors. Climbing up the steps, people can view the scenes of Mei Lake and Bulu traditional street though the window holes on different levels and elevations. Design inspired by the word “with”.
On one hand, it means that this vacant old building can accompany the local villagers and provide them a ideal living space; on the other hand, it takes half of its material to form the base of the building, replacing the aging main timber structure, and expressing its acceptance of contemporary life through modern window opening. It not only creates abundant space experience in the construction space, but also forms various ways of viewing the lake through the setting of paths and stairs.
Around the scenery of Mei Lake, people's vision is constantly changing between the main town and the old village, arousing the memories of the life before, and guiding them to pay attention to the linkage between the old village and the main town. Outside, the construction of book bar seems to be a new generation of the ruins, suggesting that villagers, with the promotion of rural town construction, should not forget the poetic and picturesque of traditional local construction, and then reactivate and establish the local characteristic aesthetics.
The first floor of book bar is a public place for leisure, and the setting of the tea room can satisfy the demand of gathering. The centralized reading area is located on the second floor to create a quiet atmosphere that suitable for reading. Children's books are arranged in the three-storey attic according to the floor height, so that each age group has its own area. The book bar provides the greatest companionship and care to the rural people in the real sense.
Postscript: The transformation of rural construction is always mixed with the original natural interest and atmosphere: natural landscapes, local materials and a slightly clumsy project , which makes everything have a natural local feeling. Over-urbanization in rural areas is often abrupt. The same is true for reconstruction investment, which is more important for villagers. The cost of rebuilding a workshop is more than 100,000 Yuan, which will make them feel appropriate. Compared with rural economic income, large-scale and inefficient projects always bring many complaints.
Absolutely, villagers always pursue modern fashionable things, but still involuntarily show kindness to the beauty of the countryside. So that plain stone and plaster, rough steel and logs can be more easily accepted. Lock-door management is a problem left in the rural construction. Places public space often cannot be opened for a long time because of operation and overall arrangement. However, villagers are accustomed to not lock their doors, thus it will make the villagers feel the sense of reject and strange. After all, a long-term closed place is difficult to integrate into peoples’ lives. Architecture as the functional space, it is public or private, is the question of the villagers, also the doubts of the countryside.