Location: Anlong County, Guizhou Province, China.
Architect: Studio A+.
The Bapan village, located in Guizhou Province, is an ancient village of the Buyi minority people that started in the Ming Dynasty. It is presently a grade A poverty village according to national standards. The project aims to support the poor and rescue the traditional timber houses that are deserted and need revitalization. The project requires a positive dialogue between the old and new concrete houses around the village. The major move is to open three big windows for the initially dark, enclosed, and inward-looking space while preserving the style of traditional Buyi residence. The ‘Window of Stars’ opens to the sky, the ‘Window of Tea’ enjoys the green bamboo forest beyond, and the ‘Window of Book’ observes people around. The interior and exterior join together, and the connection leads to the surrounding nature. The renovation project involves lifting the timber structure and changing the elevation of the attic floor slightly. As a result, a cozy attic space with a pitched roof and skylight and a shaded sandpit playground surrounded by paddy fields are created on the two levels respectively for kids to play and study. The main entrance, a part of the Window of Book, and walls near the kitchen are painted in red, representing a local tradition. Some old door planks and timber blocks are dismantled and reused as the giant tea table and stools in the landscape. Local textile is cleverly mixed with furniture design. After the renovation, the new house will become the spiritual center of the village, serving as a window for people to understand the ancient village and a platform for the dialogue between the locals and outsiders. The children’s reading area, where bookshelves are designed as grand steps, is used for story-telling and group teaching. There is a widely worshiped giant tree at the back yard of the house. Under its shade, there is a gathering and performing space for local music known as the Eight Tone Music, which is the local intangible cultural heritage. This is the first project of a series of Bapan poverty alleviation projects. Despite the limitation of local construction conditions and a tight budget, the project aims to explore the possibility of modernizing traditional architecture while preserving and revitalizing the local culture.
Photo credit: Su Chen.