Set in seven villages in Songyang County, Zhejiang Province in China, this series of seven projects represents the diversity of architecture and its capacity to enrich the daily lives of existing communities. The level of ambition driving each of the projects is impressive, as is the imaginative component brought to bear on each specific context. A Tea House, a Bamboo Theatre, a Pedestrian Bridge, a Hakka Museum, a Brown Sugar workshop that is also an entertainment space, and a Traditional Dyeing Studio; each intended to provide new public freespace.
The visitor steps onto the map of this vast area describing a sense of the scale of the landscape in which these projects are realised. What is wonderful is the range of forms, strategies, architectural techniques and materials used. There is an optimistic power in these relatively modest interventions. The overlap of work with entertainment, theatre with collective life, ritual with conviviality, tradition with economics, shows progressive thinking at play.
Architecture here is shown as the vehicle for the collective expression of each of these communities. One feels the commitment and ability of the architect to listen, to collaborate, to operate with a true spirit of generosity with the utmost skill and sensitivity.