About half of China’s population lives in rural areas which make up to 94% of its territory. However, for the past 20 years China has been experiencing increasing social and economic issues in rural areas causing an exponential disproportion between urban areas and countryside. The multiple and complex issues threatening the countryside have generated in recent years a number of strategies and policies from the central government focused on the development and regeneration of rural areas and villages aimed to reduce the gap between cities and countryside and to improve the living conditions of the rural communities.
The new public facilities designed for Shangzhou Village in Zhuhai are part of the regeneration framework promoted by the local government. Object of the design are the Visitors Center and Community Center facilities located at the East and West entrance of Shangzhou Village. The new facilities are meant to vastly improve the services offered to the community and the visitors, incorporating elements of the local culture and heritage and enhancing the natural countryside landscape.
The facility is located along the main road leading to the village from the West. The road runs across the red line and separates the building area from a public green park. On a masterplan level, we decided to connect green parks, old villages and new buildings through a central square and extend the green area to the North so that could be connected to the existing rural landscape. Facing the front road and entrance square of the village, the building effectively becomes the image of Shangzhou Village.
The complex is composed by four main blocks including the main functions and distributed around a central courtyard. The program has been split between public and more private functions so that the actual Visitors Center and the Exhibition Hall are more open towards the road and easier to reach, whilst the Party Service Center and the technical facilities are located at the back in a more secluded position overlooking the courtyard.
The community facility is divided into three units including the three main functions: canteen, children’s activity and elderly care center. The units are separated by the public space that opens up towards the village and consists of one activity plaza for the elderly to the North, one playground area for the children in the center at the confluence of the main traffic arteries and one large sports area to the South. Decorative walls designed with the typical traits of the local heritage architecture, create a backdrop that connects the buildings and split in two the public space providing a quiet and intimate area beyond them.
In order to blend into the rural architecture of the village and becoming immediately familiar to the members of the community, the two anchor points are designed with a contemporary use of the architectural elements defining the local architecture style.
The project had the crucial task of offering modern services and public facilities to a small rural village struggling to cope with depopulation and economic difficulties. The risk was to impose on the local community unnecessary urban models and a contemporary architecture that could have felt alien to the locals. The program has instead been carefully tailored on the community’s needs and the architecture is open and welcoming, proudly showing the elegant traits of the local rural heritage.
Doumen District, Zhuhai, China
Zhuhai Huihua Holdings Group.,LTD., Huafa Group
2,270 sqm + 720 sqm
2020 - Current