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Fuyingbin Studio：The project is located in Sun Township, deep in the Dabie Mountains of Huoshan County, Anhui Province. The site was formerly a rural dwelling for an elderly widow who died and was repossessed by the government. It is proposed to transform the site into a cultural facility that will serve the township community and act as a venue for the exhibition and appreciation of local tea. The site is situated on one side of a hill, surrounded by woods. Crossing by a stream in the middle, with terraced fields forming the central part of the site and two old houses on the higher ground, making it a small basin with a rare tranquility and naturalness despite being in a market town settlement.
耕 – 景观的生产与保持 Cultivation – the production and maintenance of the landscape
The Chinese people have believed in ‘cultivation and read to bequeath to the family’ since ancient times, and this has been written on the plaques and couplets of countless ancient houses. The academy on top of this rice terrace is in keeping with this traditional Chinese cultural theme. The terraces are the biggest landscape feature of the whole site and this small area has been cultivated continuously. The investors had hoped to convert the terraces into landscaped flowers, believing that these were too banal and ordinary a scene to be found anywhere in the countryside. Nevertheless, the village does not have to be “greened” in the first place, as productive landscapes are the best scenery in the countryside.
In particular, ‘greening’ is a concept originally derived from the urban landscape. The need for ‘greening’ in cities is due to the fact that cities, as ‘concrete forests’, need landscaping to improve their environment and thus maintain a basic ecological balance. In the countryside, however, this ecological balance already exists.
The psychological orientation of the client stems from the long-held notion that the rural is often defined as the opposite of the urban, and that their opposition somehow indicates a different level of human development. This dichotomy is akin to “civilisation” and ” uncivilisation”, “modernity” and “tradition”, “liberal” and “progressive”, “conservative” and “backward”. Therefore, it is not only reflected in the economic activities of the countryside, but also in academic disciplines such as architecture and landscape, as well as in the social practice of rural revitalization. The result is that the “greenery” in the countryside is either reduced to a negative space overgrown with weeds or “recycled” by farmers back into vegetable plots since there is no maintenance guarantee mechanism as in the city. This kind of embarrassment is a common occurrence in the construction of new rural settlements.
▽场地原状 The original state of the site
▽建成后整体效果 Overall appearance after completion
起源于上个世纪末的“生产性景观”在城市中被人热切讨论，这似乎让人忘记，且不说是否能达到预期生产性的目的，在被搬到城市并花费大量人力物力维持前，农业生产原本就属于乡村。此处指刻意为了做生产性景观而当做园林观赏的城市“生产性景观”，（即用农作物当 花种，不仅不会产生收益，反而增加了维护难度和成本，）。我们不反对比如阳台屋顶种菜之类的市民自发性的生产性种植，事实上，农村本身就是一个生产空间（农业、渔业、林业等），城市则是一个同时具有消费功能、基础设施的密集的居住空间。在当下，这种城乡对立和飞速城市化导致基于乡村的“再生产”总是以一种大刀阔斧的形式进行：大批的工厂厂房，现代化农业温室大棚和机械，甚至是适应物流四通八达的硬化道路。这种以“生产”为核心的模式，已经渐渐成了多数乡村的空间主角。不仅摧毁了自然地理特征的特殊性，还摧毁了与之相关的劳动形式、生活方式，亲缘地缘关系以及社会文化活动。以前最为“农村” 、“乡村””或 “乡间”的地方现在已经变成了最“城市化”的景观。现在，这种城市化的“生产”，应该止于这片“稻田”。
The ‘productive landscape’, which was originally introduced at the end of the last century, is being discussed with great enthusiasm in the urban context, which seems to forget that agricultural production was indigenous to the rural environment before it was brought to the city and maintained at great expense, not to mention whether or not it achieved the desired productive purpose.
The term ‘productive landscape’ in this context refers to urban ‘productive landscapes’ that are deliberately used as ornamental gardening for the sake of being productive (i.e. crops are planted as flowers, which instead of generating income, make maintenance more demanding and costly). This is not an opposition to the spontaneous productive cultivation of the public, such as the growing of vegetables on balconies and rooftops, but rather the fact that the rural environment is itself a productive space (agriculture, fishing, forestry, etc.) and the urban context is a condensed residential territory with consumption functions and infrastructural facilities. In the present day, this dichotomy between urban and rural sectors and rapid urbanisation has led to the “reproduction” of the countryside, invariably in the form of a vast array of factory buildings, modern agricultural greenhouses and machinery, and hardened roads to accommodate logistics. This mode of “production” has gradually become the spatial protagonist of most villages. This has destroyed not only the distinctiveness of the physical and geographical features, but also the forms of labour, the lifestyle of the villagers, the proximity, kinship and socio-cultural activities associated with them. What was once the most “rural”, ” countryside” or ” village-like” place has now become the most ” city-like “landscapes. This urbanised ‘production’ should now stop at this ‘rice field’.
After numerous discussions with the client, the paddy fields were eventually preserved, avoiding the need for significant land acquisition and allowing this most iconic view to be kept alive without the need for deliberate garden maintenance.
The paddy fields, tea plantations and vegetable plots have all been retained and continue to be cultivated by their original owners, and several trestles have been erected over the paddy fields, intertwining them in the lightest possible way. The bottom of the trestle is elevated and the water flows gently underneath, with the seedlings draped over them. The pathway even facilitates the harvesting and transportation of the rice during the autumn harvest. The whole process of farming is vividly displayed around the academy, and there is no more direct experience of country life than real farming. People can get in close contact with agricultural production and chat with the old farmers who are weeding and fertilising. After the construction of the academy, children from the town come to the library every afternoon after school to do their homework and play. The ancient pursuit of ‘cultivation’ and ‘reading’, which has been practiced for millennia, is reinterpreted here.
▽稻田与书院 Paddy field with pavilion
▽稻田与亭 Paddy field with pavilion
▽ 稻田与栈道 Paddy field with pathways
读 – 建筑的材料和结构 Reading – Architectural materials and structures
A pavilion was designed on the paddy field opposite the academy, corresponding to the academy building, with bamboo windows that can be opened on each side, and the pavilion is elevated above the paddy field, surrounded by rice. Visitors can enjoy the pavilion for a refreshing chat and look out across the pavilion to the academy, while farmers may rest and smoke in the pavilion after farming.
▽休憩亭 Resting pavilion
▽水稻收割 Rice harvesting
The Academy building consists of a library and a tea room. The library is made up of two old rooms of rammed earth construction, which have been renovated by retaining the existing rammed earth walls and elevating the roof by nesting the steel structure inside, allowing the library to be light and well ventilated internally. The renovated roof provides better insulation and water resistance properties. At night the warm light of the interior penetrates through the windows under the eaves and becomes the focal point of the whole environment. A partial mezzanine has been inserted into the main room to extend the existing use area, and at night warm light from the interior comes through a window under the eaves and becomes the focal point of the environment. A steel corridor has been included between the two old houses, making the two buildings integral and easy to use, while remaining distinct in relationship to the old building. The small pond in front of the traditional dwelling, which was often used to store rainwater, has also been retained in this renovation. As the connecting porch occupied the original entrance road, a light bridge has been re-erected on the side of the pond to provide a more romantic approach to the library.
▽书院入口 Entrance to the Academy
▽书院与茶室 Academy and Tea Room
▽书院 The Academy
The interior of the old building has been blackened by years of living and the earthen walls are flaking and dusty. The new interior walls are therefore double-layered, with a plaster board panel reinstalled outside the earthen walls to solve the problem, and a square opening left in the entrance wall to reveal the original clay surface. The existing stove in the room has also been reused as a showpiece.
▽书院室内 Interior of the Academy
▽书院室内保留的灶台与老墙 The preserved stove and old wall in the academy
The new teahouse is on the side of the original house, and at a certain angle it can be observed as a series of buildings alongside the original house, like a few boulders on a hillside, embedded in the terraces. The teahouse is cast in wooden formwork, with the wood grain faintly visible, and the concrete is painted white in order to correspond with the white plaster of the façade of the old house, which was originally imposing but has become gentle and restrain. The building opens out to a huge bay window, which brings the view of the rice fields outside into the interior, where people can sit and enjoy tea and watch the scenery. The double window structure of glass + bamboo grille provides thermal insulation and allows the opening of the bamboo grille to provide shading according to the sunlight, while the bamboo grille materially matches the bamboo window of the pavilion opposite.
▽茶室 Tea room
▽茶室室内 The interior of tearoom
▽稻田与书院 The rice fields and the academy
项目影响 The impact
The Sun Academy transforms an ordinary country house, which was in decline, into a public space for reading, visiting and exhibiting, while the original agricultural production continues to coexist in harmony with the new functionalities, allowing the otherwise ‘ordinary’ rice fields to become part of the landscape. As architecture is part of the environment and should be integrated seamlessly into it, all of Sun Academy’s renovations and new constructions are oriented around the rice paddies as a context, trying to find appropriate and fluid responses to it. Many designers have tried to put into practice the idea of a ‘productive landscape’, but it is rather difficult to design ‘production’, and it is even more difficult to sustain the designed ‘production’ in the long term. In this sense, the naturally productive landscape of the countryside offers design possibilities. Rural practice should not simply copy the methods of urban architecture, landscape architecture and urban planning. To respect the context, to respond to it, to adapt to it, is perhaps one way of designing for the rural.
▽总平面图 Master plan
▽建筑平面图 Ground floor plan
▽建筑轴侧图 Architectural axonometric
Project Location: Sun Township, Huoshan County, Liuan City, Anhui Province
Design date: 2017.3
Area: 0.8 hectares
Design Unit: Fu Yingbin Studio
Principal Designer: Fu Yingbin
Team: Zhang Haoran, Cai Wancheng, Yan Lu
Photographer: Zhang Qiaoxi
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