- Chief Architect: Haian Guo
- Design Team: Gang Xiang, Rong He, Jie Meng, Wencan Huang, Yufeng You
- Planning And Design: China Academy of Urban Planning & Design
- City: Xuancheng
- Country: China
Text description provided by the architects. Shang village, located in Jixi Town of Anhui province, is both a National Traditional Village and a Historical and Cultural Village, where a lot of photography fans have been attracted by the landscape. The mountains are beautiful; however, the roads are hard and steep. Without any resources, the village is poor and getting hollow, and a large number of exquisite traditional buildings are not repaired in time, resulting in serious damage. A series of art activities we're involved in the village to inject new life and vitality into the precarious old houses and try to explore an important way to revive the remote traditional villages. Therefore, the design team has carried out a lot of creative implantations, without any funds, but by the villagers’ participation, a large number of social practice and artistic activities have been carried out.
In order to provide artists a working place and attract more artists and designers to participate in Shang Village, two models were decided to build in the damaged houses: Time Art Gallery (model 1) and Grain-basking Pavilion (model 2). The former is used to exhibit the works of photographers or artists, and also as a place for meetings and communications; The latter is used to collect works and record historical events in the village. The cost of each house shall be controlled within＄15000, and major machinery and modern equipment can not be used. The buildings should be suitable for manual construction by villagers and the materials must be easy to clean and maintain, and the operation cost shall be minimized, as well as, the new parts will conform to the styles of the traditional village and not destroy the rural features.
Model 1：Time Art Gallery for lateral force resistance. Time, mentioned in old scriptures, is a beautiful pickup. Time Art Gallery is a place to record life and art, which is among the Bamboo shed, U-shaped corridor, and Old Oil workshop, only one side is open. Therefore, the main difficulty is peripheral buildings’ instability. How to effectively resist the horizontal forces of the old walls on both sides and keep good stiffness in the cracks is the key problem that should be solved.
Therefore, a safe nuclear structure system is adopted, which has no roots in the ground. A frame of dense small columns and beams, which are only 50mm square steel at an interval of 1m, supports the new light roof. The beam Structures are properly removed at the path and stairs to afford a passage space of 1m wide and 2m high. The whole steel frame has good integrity, like a safety cabin, which is embedded in the old residential buildings.
In order to save energy, the building is a semi-enclosed space, with the opening facing the position of the U-shaped corridor, where the wind can pass through. And then, the gallery is cooled or heated by the corridor wind which is warm in winter and cool in summer. The roof is tiled by some metal external shading to prevent direct sunlight in summer. The enclosure material is a hollow sunlight board, which has good thermal insulation performance. At the same time, the bamboo and bamboo materials woven by villagers are added between the sun boards, which can gain a good sun shading effect.
It is an old saying in Anhui province that water from four sides should return into the yard. So a small courtyard is designed inside the building. The yard is covered by soil, which can grow bamboo and draw grass. There are green plants inside the buildings. Entering the room, the upper and lower floor can be seen. The upper layer is a ring corridor, which is basically suspended by the roof structure; In the lower layer, four wooden columns are reserved at the original position to commemorate the past space.
Because the structure and enclosure walls are so simple and pure that it is a difficult problem to install lights. An allusion, stealing light through the walls, comes up. Since the house cannot have lights, we can install lights on the neighbor's walls. Therefore, the lighting of the whole building is installed on the walls, and the transparent materials play as a ‘lampshade’. To reduce the load of the roof, special perforated metal plates were adopted, the hollow shapes of which are similar to the tube tiles. The light is transmitted and refracted through the perforated plates, with a beautiful land separation effect, which is the understanding and interpretation of ‘time’.
Model 2：Grain-basking Pavilion for resistance to vertical pressure. Shang village has a long history, and a non-governmental organization called ‘Grain-gathering Association’ is established, which is similar to the primitive insurance company, that is, to gather the spare grains of every family and assign to villagers in famines. Grain-gathering Association plays an important role in social governance and the organizer of all the villagers. Grain-basking Pavilion is named after the meaning of Grain-gathering Association: the works of all the families and artists gather here to add up the strength of art and culture, which can provide energy for the development of the village!
Different from the location of Time Art Gallery, the site of Grain-basking Pavilion is open with any horizontal force. The roof is small and covered by Chinese-style tiles which are the same as the surrounding houses and a little heavy. To save money and materials, the pavilion is built in the same frame as the gallery, but how to bear the vertical load is the key problem that must be solved.
Grain-basking Pavilion is a very small building, which has no dense columns and beams. To strengthen vertical bearing capacity, a steel shelf has lain in the center of the house, as a core, which can not only increase the stiffness of the structure but also provides support for the ridges of the roof.
The steel shelf provides a sunny atrium, two stories high, where the daylight can be seen and the air can be dried. The physical conditions are suitable to keep the works of artists and books. The vertical connection is a steep wooden staircase, which is some like a sutra Pavilion. The surrounding villages become very hazy against the sunshine board. Grain-basking Pavilion is the place to bask grains, so we used little colorful beads instead of grains inside the panels, which give the black and white village in Anhui province more wonderful colors.
Light steel frame experiment is more like a device than a building, more like a mending than a new structure, with not too much cost and construction. Dry work, temporary and experimental space is provided. This light intervention offers a possibility of substitution and replacement, and a harmless construction method to the environment in nature. The frame is something like scaffolds or protection devices, which will release more possibilities when more funds are gained in the future.