Awakening of the Memory

Taking the commune auditorium and the vegetable greenhouse as the original form, Shitang Village Project in Jiangning tries to reconstruct public buildings in a rural context.

The trend of modernization and urbanization in rural development inevitably requires the introduction of new types of functions. As multi-functional buildings with large space, the Internet Conference Center is one of them. Taking the commune auditorium and the vegetable greenhouse as the original form, Shitang Village Project in Jiangning tries to reconstruct public buildings in a rural context. Efforts have been made to rapidly build a system through industrialization, bringing in the technology of pre-fabricated super slender column structure, selectively applying suitable technology to eliminate the existence of weakened and materialized buildings and restoring the primitive feeling of rural villages, hence having conducted a rejuvenated construction practice in an extremely short construction period of time in rural villages.

Big Houses in a Small Town
The plan of “A small Internet town”of Shitang Village is a miniature of the township of Chinese countryside, including the subtle difference and trouble among rural modernization, township and urbanization, even for those samples with advantageous geographic conditions and rich natural resources. Located 40 kilometers to the southwest of Nanjing, this suburban village has successively completed the village renovation as planned and the construction of village accommodation and catering. As the follow-up development of “beautiful countryside”, in order to meet the multi-functional needs of conferences and cultural performances resulting from “A permanent venue for Internet entrepreneurship competition ”in the future, the project of the Internet conference center proposed by the local government is essential to the future industrial transformation in the countryside. At the same time, however, the lack of a process of choosing the venue and starting the construction through a blue-print planning demonstrates a certain “spontaneity” of the development of rural settlement.

Zhong Huaying, Zhang Lei, Zhong Huaying, Zhang Lei, Xi Hong,  Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China

Re-structuring of Types
Big houses in traditional Chinese countryside are rarely seen. Typical big houses are “commune auditoruiums” as public buildings and “green houses” as production facilities. Analysis of the elements of the above-mentioned two kinds of “prototypes” has become an important channel for promoting the design. The types of rural buildings are directly associated with construction materials and structure. They are either the material basis of the realistic existence of rural buildings, or important media of form-oriented demonstration, abstract spatial imagery of buildings and carriers of cultural experience.

The awakening of the memory of commue auditoriums has naturally led to the basic spatial elements of dual-slope roofs. In fact, for most of the time, the big space of this conference center will also continuously become the venue for villagers to get together for folk customs. The assembled member-bar structure is the development of the light steel structure for green houses. Despite its complexity and reliability higher than the demands of the latter, its rational construction logic marked by the least interference against the natural environment is retained.

first floor plan
second floor plan
north elevation
east elevation
detail of roof structure
detail of roof structure

Technology-local Rural Areas
Yuan Xin, a structure-oriented engineer in researching the spatial structure and tensegrity has ingeniously applied the mechanics principles of tensegrity to the compressed columns and decomposed the mono-stress of traditional cross-section of columns into tension and compression, hence having provided extra help to the resistence against the column deformation regarding the balance of two directional forces, and overpassed the restriction of Euler critical force to form heavy-duty ultra-pressure fine columns of tiny section sizes. The supportive structure of an ideal conference center should have verdant fine, dense and upright bamboo groves around the base. Supported by pre-fabricated fine-column technology, a fine column with a section side-length of 14 centimeters, a height of 10.45 meters and a slenderness ratio of 1:75 has come into being. Desirable construction quality has been simultaneously achieved through quick construction of 45 days, based on an industrialized construction system and corresponding design and methods of design management.

“The Internet conference center”is a new functional type in the countryside. The composition of its elements is undoubtedly the requirement of progress in our times.The way of thinking regarding “types” and the essence of “transformation” and “evolution” are never marked by refusal, but urgent needs for active merger of new technological strategies to promote the integration between technology and local rural areas to prolong innate order of the spatial environment.