An Atlas of the Chinese

Middle Ground 3-Storey House

Hong Kong 2020

The Beauty of Everyday Buildings


“What I would like to do, if it were at all possible, would be to visit abandoned houses in the countryside, salvage their dust-covered tea bowls, and prepare a fresh serving of tea. Doing that, I could return to the roots of tea and commune with the earliest tea masters to my heart's content.”


Inspired by Soetsu Yanagi’s book “The Beauty of Everyday Things” (1933) this elective investigates how normal buildings are built, the default buildings no one talks about but we all use.  In the footsteps of Bernard Rudofsky’s seminal book “Architecture without Architects” (1965) we will compile an atlas of China’s Middle Ground, that amalgamated territory that exists between rural villages and urban centres.  Students will compile a book, a taxonomy of 3 story house typologies, following a material and tectonic analysis that draws upon Kenneth Frampton’s book “Studies of Tectonic Culture” (1995).

Student Project:

ZHOU Ziqin


Course Instructor

Prof. Peter W. Ferretto