Monday, February 23, 2009

Vankae Tulou, Guangdong is designed by Urbanus Architect has won the Chinese Architecture awards from the Chinese Magazine WORLD ARCHITECTURE (Chinese-architect.com) . It is a prototype study of low-income housing model in modern cities. Tulou is a traditional and unique type of dwelling for Hakka people in Fujian province. It encourage community spirit as this type of housing combines shopping, entertainment, living, storing into one single entity.

Taken the idea of Tulou , the architect tried to implement the kind of communal residence into low-income housing area. The Tulou prototype includes 245 apartments, an inn, exercise facilities, a library, storefronts, and varied public space.
According to the designer, imitating the form and the style of tulou is not a good solution in design. The new tulou is designed to suit to the urban fabric by introduce green areas, expressways, overpasses and other features.
Various of studies of the traditional tulou buildings have being done especially on the space, functions , size and social network between each residents.
As the function of traditional tulou's outer walls is to protect the inner buildings from attacks, the outer walls of the new tulou seems to protect the residents from the urban chaos, which can be analysized as having both pro and con.
Low income residence gained more attention from designer especially on their living environment now.
Interior of the living areas.
Fujian Tulou, 福建土楼 is an unique rammed earth dwelling of Hakka found in Fujian. (Wikipedia), listed in UNESCO world heritage list.
Tulou is usually a large enclosed building, rectangular or circular in configuration, with a very thick weight supporting earth wall (up to 6 feet thick) and wooden skeletons, from three to five storeys high, housing up to 80 families. (Wikipedia)
The layout of Fujian tulou followed the Chinese dwelling tradition of "closed outside, open inside" concept: an enclosure wall with living quarters around the peripheral and a common courtyard at the center. (Wikipedia)
Photos from KIT (picasaweb)

Info and other photos from Urbanus Architect