during the opening of the pavilion of china at the venice biennale, designboom caught up with archi-union founder philip f. yuan to discuss the firm’s recently completed projects and their role in constructing the future of the chinese countryside. cloud village and in bamboo, the two projects currently on show, explore new technologies and ways these can be embedded within the local, traditional character of rural areas. ‘what I’m trying to do is teaching the local villagers how to use robotics,’ philip f. yuan mentions, ‘I think the countryside is a special location to implement this new technology.’ 

 

 

‘the theme of the china pavilion is about constructing the future countryside, and the future countryside is not just about following tradition, you also need to input some new technology, some new knowledge to the culture – it’s a kind of connection of the past and the future,’ yuan states, ‘bamboo is a tradition, it’s in our culture, people like the texture and the materiality, so the question is how to make something innovative based on the same material, this is the challenge for us.’ ‘the materiality in this project is based on a new process, which is strongly changed by the machine, so I think, the future will be based on the collaboration between the human and the machine,’ the architect explains about the decision to combine traditional construction techniques with prefabricated industrialization. 


image by li han

 

 

one of the issues the chinese countryside currently faces is that it is mostly populated by elder people, while the young generation is moving to the big cities. through ‘in bamboo’, philip f. yuan aims to attract more people back to the villages, both for industry and for tourism purposes. ‘it’s not just one building, it’s seven projects in the village, which can help it have a more distinct identity, a more attractive identity,’ he explains. after the community center, other projects in the area will include a b&b for city people who want to spend a weekend ther, a conference building and workshop spaces while the architect hopes to create a model that other villages can follow. ‘architecture is not just about the space or the form, it’s about social networks,’ he states. ‘in bamboo’ has proven to be a great success in the chinese countryside, and when asked about future plans, yuan mentions, ‘this new identity for the small, unknown village has been so successful that another village nearby has invited us, so I’m looking forward to set up some robotic factory right now – I would not want to design one building, but a system that will serve more the local people.’ 


image © designboom


image © designboom


image © designboom


image © designboom


image © designboom


image © designboom


image © designboom


image © designboom


image © designboom


image © gao changjun


image © gao changjun

 image © designboom

 

 

venice architecture biennale golden lion

designboom’s coverage of the 2018 venice architecture biennale is in partnership with leading energy company edison. edison is taking part in the 16th international architecture exhibition of la biennale di venezia by initiating a path towards sustainability and the efficient use of resources. the collaboration between edison and la biennale is based on awareness that energy is one of the fundamental elements of architecture and of the places, spaces and cities of contemporary life.

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