Gaobu 2016

This workshop starts from the premise that architecture can be a ve-hicle for collective expression and empowerment, by working close-ly with local communities understanding their social customs as well as their traditional craftsmanship a new civic approach towards architecture can be achieved that awakens an awareness towards social, sustainable and economic issues facing populations in rural Chinese minority villages and beyond.

The Dong Ethnic Minority people are one of China’s 55 ethnic groups recognized by the People’s Republic of China, who live mostly between the regions of eastern Guizhou, western Hunan and northern Guangxi and consist of just under 3 million people. They have a long history of more than 1000 years dating back to Liao peoples and over the centuries have developed a rich culture steeped in tradition and folklore that is strongly connected with the structure of their village settlements.strongly connected with the structure of their village settlements.

Unfortunately, the Dong communities today are confronted with very real problems that are challenging both their social structure as well as their economic livelihoods: namely rapid urbanization. The impact of urbanization, which is affecting many Chinese rural sites, brings very practical and immediate problems to the Dongs; Structural decay of village of abandoned dwellings with most working members of the community opting to leave the villages and work in the city; the disappearance of traditional craftsmanship such as carpentry, which as a trade cannot compete economically with modern construction techniques and finally the commercial-ization of their cultural heritage to attract tourists.

The issues central to this research workshop relate to understand-ing how public “Social Spaces” of the Dong rural settlements (such as the drum towers but not exclusively), the corner stone of their integrated and balanced society for centuries, can not only remain relevant amidst this rural diaspora, but become active focal hubs of the community.


Course Instructor

Prof. Peter W. Ferretto


CHAN Wing Yan

CHAN Chi Hin
CHAN Sze Wing

CHAN Wai Sum

CHOI Sheung Kwan
CHOW Sze Hei

LAM Man Yan
LAM Sun Tak

LAM Chi Kit
TAM Wing Yee

TO Wai Kin
WONG Hoi Kei

WONG Fai Nam