Renovation Toolbox

Strategies for adapting vernacular architecture

In rural China, an informal wave of building jump started by economic and social transformations over the past 40 years has rendered some villages unrecognizable. The resulting building boom, taking place in a context with very few regulations, has created densities more often found in urban areas. At the same time, the sudden availability of new materials and industrial methods of construction have enabled some remarkable hybrid experiments where rural self-builders adapt, modify, graft, cleave and wrap traditional building types. Unconstrained by notions of good taste or formal consideration, these unexpected and innovative solutions are reflections on some of the most pertinent issues of contemporary dwelling, whether on the issue of living with seasons or modernizing tradition.

This research argues that the manifold evolution of the vernacular is part of the every-day practice of the villagers’ lives, and that architecture for them is very much still a home. It is a guide to the surprising design decisions found in the domestic architecture of rural China and a resource for thinking about new ways of living today.

Click to find out more: Research Appendix

Renovation Toolbox: Strategies for adapting vernacular architecture” is funded by the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.