A preliminary investigation of the rammed earth houses in a vernacular village in China

  • YEAR
    Zhao, Xiaoxin
    Greenop, Kelly
    2016 Conference Papers
    Architectural Science and Design Assessments
    Conference Papers


The current increasing speed of urbanization in China, is threatening to demolish highly significant vernacular buildings in rural areas. Based on this context, the character of vernacular architecture and the construction principles in the local area is the subject of this paper, specifically, their spatial arrangement, structure, enclosure, and other elements of a vernacular building will be summarized. In 2005, the Chinese government first proposed the “Beautiful Village” project, an upgrading plan to improve the life satisfaction of people living in rural areas. In 2013, the first author participated in surveying the historical development of Yangyuan Village, which is involved in the beautiful village project. To assess the village’s typology and buildings techniques, the research project utilized a mixed methods approach that included interviewing villagers and craftsmen, photographing buildings, statistical analysis of the roof truss and computer modelling of vernacular buildings in order to understand the local vernacular construction principles. The vernacular buildings are argued to be ecologically and socially sustainable because of their use of local low-energy materials, traditional construction methods and forms which result from a long history. The paper identifies a typical building type and traditional construction system. We argue that constructing new buildings in traditional villages using the principles derived from their vernacular setting is a sustainable method for the development of villages in the future.


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