Great (Bamboo) Wall

In this project, ten Asian architects were commissioned to design ten residences each, creating one hundred structures that together make up an environmentally-sustainable commune in a forest adjacent to the Great Wall of China.

From the architects:

Our basic concept for this project was to leave the original geographical features intact and utilize locally-produced materials as much as possible. The idea of leaving the land intact conforms with the broader planning ideology of the Great Wall project. However, all the 20th-century houses in the nearby suburbs had been built on leveled land. Although that was the modern architectural norm, we felt it was not suitable for the beautiful land of China with its intricate undulations. We therefore decided to build the walls of the houses so that they enhanced rather than interfered with the existing geographical features.

We designed the walls as filters formed of bamboo. There are several reasons we chose bamboo as the principal material. First of all, we found the material’s weakness charming. The Great Wall, built of solid stone and brick, was once used to sever the civilized world from the world of savages; the bamboo filter would on the other hand allow light and wind to pass through. It could also represent a connection between two worlds. Brought long ago from China to Japan, bamboo is a symbol of cultural interchange between the two countries. We intended this building to be a similar symbol of cultural interchange.


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