V studio creates giant stone sinkhole to commemorate a village's disappearing rain cycle

V studio creates giant stone sinkhole to commemorate a village's disappearing rain cycle


located in the village of yubulu zhai in guizhou autonomous prefecture, china, the ‘sinkhole floor drain’ by V studio is a sizeable piece of land art whose creation was prompted by a slowly disappearing geological feature, integral to the identity of the region. situated on a karst landscape (where the bedrock is composed of soluble rock like limestone, dolomite and gypsum), the entire village exists on the edge of a massive sinkhole.

the entire village is arranged around the rim of the vast slope



the hole — after which V studio’s artwork is modelled — has a relative fall of 610 meters. ‘the sinkhole is trumpet-flower-shaped, and numerous century-old buildings are perfectly preserved in this village,’ explains V studio. ‘some of the houses are even built directly on native slate without digging deep foundations.’ while the homes of yubulu zhai are built along the external edge of the sinkhole, the central incline is defined by vast stretches of fertile farmland.

the central incline of the depression is marked by vast swathes of farmland



according to the villagers, for the past decade during heavy periods of rainfall almost the entire inner circle of pasture has transformed into a massive lake created by the incline. rather than a single hole, the rainfall is slowly drained away over the course of a few days through four smaller water draining holes, the location of which are common knowledge. this cycle, of land to water and back again, is a a cyclical process that has defined life in the region for many years. 


due to recent droughts however, the cycle is coming to an end. a dramatic reduction in rainfall and rain intensity has led to the almost complete disappearance of the phenomenon, as trees and dense vegetation grow in what was once bare grassland. 

due to recent droughts the cycle is slowly coming to an end



the purpose of ‘sinkhole floor drain’ is to strengthen both the geological characteristic and historical memory of the natural phenomenon of the site. the diameter of the top edge is 9 meters and the depth is 2.4 meters, while the diameter of the lower edge is 1 meter and the depth of the hole of the lower edge is 1 meter. a hole with a diameter of 30 centimeters which connects with an existing underground river is left at the side wall at the bottom, so as to enable the floor drain drain water when a rainstorm hits.

bird’s eye view of the site



the surface layer of the funnel is paved with local shale and radiates out in all directions, a visual effect that gives onlookers the distinct feeling of being dragged into the depths of the earth. ‘it seems that the black hole at the bottom of the funnel is full of mystery and danger,’ continues the studio. ‘the construction of the project was completed by local masons. what’s interesting is that almost all masons who took part in the construction are from a single family, the are all local craftsman and share the same trade.’ 

heavy rainfall has historically cause the pastures to transform into an enormous lake

concept sketches


construction pictures

local construction team


project info:


project name: sinkhole floor drain
location: yubulu zhai, xingyi city, guizhou province, china
project type: public art
client: town government of qingshuihe town, xingyi city
design creation: hu quanchun
design company: v studio (www.5vstudio.com)
project team: xiang yu, zhang fei
construction team: yang qushao, yang quxiang, yang qubang, yang yixing, yu xinghua, wang rongjin, wang xixian, wang xixiu, chen mingmin, ding chaomei, xie xiaoping
construction time: 2016.04
photographer: v studio



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: peter corboy | designboom

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