Christian Taeubert's Studio Cottage rediscovers the identity of a Beijing suburban village.
The Chinese countryside — where the studio cottage is located — has been dominated by rural depopulation. Local effort alone is not adequate enough to address the multiple challenges rural communities face as their vitality becomes compromised by the flight of residents to larger cities.
Given the close proximity of Beijing to its surrounding rural areas like Bo Hai Zhen, community revitalization has captured Christian Taeubert’s imagination. The architect noticed that the majority of people of working age had left the village. The remaining inhabitants are mostly grandparents and grandchildren; their struggle to regain social sustainability in their way of life is one of the many challenges rural villages face. The project was driven by the intuition that a moderate gentrification could eventually lead to a modest prosperity for some of the remaining villagers.
However, developing rural areas, are often less about preserving tradition and more about reviving, because the tradition is not really present. The architect’s intention was to refurbish an unoccupied dwelling, which some might argue was not worth preserving, in order to rediscover the identity it could bring in the context of its village setting. With its collapsed perimeter walls and the overgrown grounds, the neglected property had become a ‘white spot on the village map’, where vacancy is a symbol of depopulation.
The farmer who had originally built the house in the early seventies was a frequent visitor during the construction phase’, the architect says. ‘We were happy to hear that he approved our interventions to the house being seemingly happy with the final outcome’.
Credits: - Photographer - Boris Shiu - Fashion Designer - Min Sun - Architect - Christian Taeubert