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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 © 2021 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.



LUO Jing

Thesis Topic:

Form Follows Body: The Dong Carpenter’s Knowledge and the Application of Carpenter’s Rules, Rituals and Tools for Constructing the Dong Minority Houses in Rural


Abstract:

This thesis research focuses on the working principles, tools and rituals that adopted by the Dong carpenter for housing constructions in Dong minority villages along the Pintan valley at rural southwest Hunan province, China. The aim of this study, is to show how does the Dong carpenters use their body and experiences as the basis of building practice, applying and sustaining their working knowledge to adapt for industrial productions with the change of Dong dwelling habitus.

Without any participation of architects, the 3-storey timber Dong houses mostly being of ‘Ganlan’ style, have been self-built by local people under the leading of Dong ink masters for centuries. Due to the absence of written language, the constructional methods adopted by Dong carpenters, have been passed down in the format of spoken code and orally taught during the working process. Traditionally, the Dong carpenter’s knowledge is exclusive. The methods to design and construct Dong buildings inherited from the former ink masters, only transmitted between the carpenters and his apprentices.

Therefore, my research will be based on acquiring the knowledge from Dong carpenters, comprehending the housing form in the context of Dong ethnic culture. Through observing the self-building process, this research describes not only how does Dong houses be formulated under the cultural impacts, but also explains the building strategies from the perspective of Dong inhabitants. The knowledge of Dong carpentry, which orally transmitted from the carpenter’s head to hand and be performed through the body practice, connects to the Dong habitus and culture. It shows an inherent relationship between the body and mind, which defines both the way of constructions and form of Dong houses.