The 1st International Bamboo Architecture Biennale: rebuilding countryside with artistic spirit

Architecture / 16 May 2018 / Qiantao Ge, Shirley Chen

Being under construction for four years, the first International Bamboo Architecture Biennale opened in Baoxi, Longquan, China on 28th September 2016.

Video of the International Bamboo Architecture Biennale

From many eyes, this is a project almost impossible, but it is accomplished despite all the hardships. The theme of the Biennale is to construct a countryside locally, in the form of art and architecture, discovering a path for sustainable development of Chinese countryside today. The everlasting Biennale has been growing in its unique way and continues to attract extensive attention globally.

Site View

The Biennale, which gathers 11 architects’ wisdom, is based on the material ‘bamboo’ and employ the rural village as space. The resulting venues have been integrated into the context of the countryside from the first day of construction, and have become a new life, force and culture of it.

Left: Kengo Kuma, Contemporary Celadon Ceramic Museum
Right: Vo Trong Nghia, Welcome Center

Anna Heringer, Design Hotel and Hostel

For a long time, the dual structure of urban and rural areas has severely hampered the development of rural economic and cultural development. How to change the status quo to activate the countryside, the International Bamboo Architecture Biennale has given some answers:
Study the life, culture and customs of the place locally (‘on-site’);
Research and develop the adaptability and new usage of natural materials in the field;
Let renowned international architects design locally, experiencing from the bamboo building, rammed earth construction, stone processing to the daily life of rural areas, linking traditions to future.

Qiantao GE, Bridge

Compared to urban construction, rural villagers are more familiar with local species and materials. Therefore, local materials are used to create ‘low-tech’ methods. Through villagers’ participation in construction and learning, they can re-recognise the good resources around them, such as bamboo, clay and stones. The spirit shown in the various works of the architects helps to enlighten the cultural identity of the people.

George Kunihiro, Traditional Ceramic Workshop

Xu YANG, Art Hotel

Simon Velez, Boutique Hotel

Today, this rural community has begun to show people the interactive relationship between man, nature, environment and architecture. This one-and-only Bamboo Architecture Biennial has now become one of China’s most charming artistic landscape. Bamboo architecture art allows us to experience creativity while getting inspired by the life cycle of natural architecture. The ‘on-site’ principle of the Biennale is becoming influential in China, as a case of cultural choice for ‘village construction’. The Bamboo Architecture Biennale conducted a revolutionary “on-site” practice for the conversion and upgrading of the materials, methods and factor of production in rural areas. The phenomenological, sociological and cultural values it constitutes demonstrate the involvement of arts and humanities in rural areas, unleashing the infinite possibilities of productivity. Once art strays away from life, art loses its meaning.

Vo Trong Nghia, Welcome Center

Mauricio Cardenas Laverde, Eco Energy Efficient Experimental House

The place where the charismatic people live is attractive with hardly any exception. The charm of the site is actually due to the charm of people living on this land. In China, the history of Baoxi township is a history of dreams and aesthetics, interspersed within dimensions of different eras. At the moment, this context continues. Everything that happens today will become history - we all have a dream for our hometown and recreate the beauty of it.

Thanks to Qiantao GE, the initiator of the Biennale, for the original article and images.

International Bamboo Architecture Biennale
Baoxi, Longquan, China

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