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Condition_Lab is a Design Research Laboratory based within the School of Architecture at CUHK. Established in 2018, our primary focus is to improve people’s lives through design.

The Lab’s research resolves around designing socially responsible architectural prototypes. By working hand-in-hand with local partners on real sites, our aim is to develop projects that foster a better sense of community. The prototype acts as a vessel to generate new knowledge about how people inhabit their environment.

Our philosophy revolves around the paradox embedded into the word “condition”, as a noun it refers to a context, a circumstance, or a situation, while as a verb it implies change - to condition something based on an original state.




Condition_Lab © 2020 School of Architecture,
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
 



Condition_Lab is a Design Research Laboratory based within the School of Architecture at CUHK. Established in 2018, our primary focus is to improve people’s lives through design.

The Lab’s research resolves around designing socially responsible architectural prototypes. By working hand-in-hand with local partners on real sites, our aim is to develop projects that foster a better sense of community. The prototype acts as a vessel to generate new knowledge about how people inhabit their environment.




Elective 
Gaobu, 2018
Condition/ House
Prototype Solutions for a New Timber House in Rural China


The aim of this workshop is to develop an alternative and sustainable strategy to regenerate Dong Minority villages in China via new architectural prototypes that respond to contemporary rural developments and foster minimum impact to the existing fabric of the village.

The Dong ethnic minority people are one of China’s 56 ethnic groups, who live in the region delimited by southwest Hunan, southeast Guizhou and north Guangxi. With a population of almost three million and a long history of more than 1,000 years dating back to the Tang Dynasty, the Dong communities are today, in a similar manner to many other Chinese rural settlements, deeply affected by the phenomenon of “Village Hollowing”.

This unprecedented exodus of rural populations to expanding urban areas, has resulted in almost vacant villages inhabited by struggling communities of mostly elderly people and children.  The complex relationship between daily life, rituals and buildings is a vital part of how the Dong community dwell within their environment.  Dong culture is essentially a material culture, they possess no written language, where their most important means of self-identification derives from an inherent relationship between the inhabitants and their artefacts, rituals and their architecture.  Public structures such as the “Wind-and-Rain Bridge” and “Drum Tower” are at the heart of all social activity, supporting an elaborate public space system anchored in daily practice.  This social structure which results from the habitus of acquired and settled dispositions of its individuals, represents Dong’s greatest asset to stem the exodus.

Using the Dong Minority village of Gaobu, located along the Pingtan River in Hunan Province, China as a pilot project, the aim is to generate an integrated masterplan that will act as a guideline to both national and regional policy makers working on the regeneration of Chinese Minority villages.

Following the previous 2 year’s summer electives, we have identified one specific issue that addresses the complexity of the present Dong settlement, namely: “Adapting the Domestic Dong House” that will allow us to propose a series of innovative architectural prototypes that can contribute to the village becoming a socially and ecologically sustainable model in the future.



Period
22nd May - 5th Jun, 2019



Instructor
Prof. Peter W. Ferretto
Prof. CAI Ling



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