Situated on the outskirts of Peitian Village, Fujian Province, China and designed to be constructed without the use of mechanical fasteners, “Wind and Rain Bridge” is a reciprocal interlocking timber structure which draws on the long tradition of wooden buildings native to the region.
Each of the bridges’ 265 elements is unique and integral, assembled under the supervision of traditional carpenters - some of the few remaining exponents of their craft. Peitian is one of a number of isolated rural villages distributed throughout the mountainous regions of southern China which, following severe flooding in early 2014, saw much of the infrastructure linking its disparate communities destroyed.
This project aims to reconnect Peitian village to that historic network of routes linking these isolated settlements. The bridge creates a community space in the heart of the village’s fertile farmland, where local people can socialize and exchange. Opening outward towards the village, the bridge negotiates the variable terrain and provides a place of respite from Peitian’s changeable climate. This project seeks to offer an alternative mode of community redevelopment that references local crafts and traditions, and utilizes sustainable materials and methods, to create both social and physical infrastructure. Critical to this process was the integration of digital design methodologies with traditional construction techniques. BIM and CAD allowed for planning and testing of complex assemblies before any handwork took place. CNC technologies were used to create jigs and tools - enabling rapid construction with unskilled labor and basic hand tools. In the past the high level of training and labor associated with these assemblies has been a barrier to the continued viability of complex, long-span, timber structures in China and other developing and transitioning economies.
This project was supported by the Gallant Ho Experiential Learning Fund, The University of Hong Kong
Credits: - Elspeth Lee - The University of Hong Kong - Team Leader - Hejia Jiang - Gengxin Village Co-creation - The University of Hong Kong - Man Ho Kwan - Peitian Community Craftsmen - The University of Hong Kong - Rosalia Leung - The University of Hong Kong - Chang Liu - The University of Hong Kong - HKU Architecture Students