Info & News



Projects & Writing

Invisible Landscape

Culture Centre of Zhangdian Town

A Yaodong or "house cave" is a particular form of earth shelter dwelling common in the Loess Plateau in China's north. They are generally carved out of a hillside or excavated horizontally from a central "sunken courtyard". The history of Yaodongs goes back centuries, and they continue to be used. In 2006, an estimated 40 million people in northern China lived in Yaodongs. These traditional dwellings have been regarded as an example of sustainable design. But because of the process of rapid urbanization, this type of residence gradually disappears, as well as rural's context and local culture. 

                                                    A: Underground courtyard
                                                    B: Downward streamline
                                                    C: Passing through corridor
                                                    D: Sequence framing space
                                                    E: Blurry Interface
2017, Zhangdian, China
Professor : Chen Lin
The new protection strategy speaks of the expansion of the site as a new public center in the town that allows villagers, tourists, and local governments to gain a better experience through design. New public spaces have shaped new opportunities for exchange, with several groups of people engaging in interesting interactions around local specialty homes and cultures and eventually creating new models that stimulate the protection and development of the local traditional architecture.

To translate traditional architectural language into modern design language through new materials and structures, and to give the building a new functional and spatial atmosphere on the basis of preserving the original typological elements, the design in line with the local landscape but also highlights the contemporary technology and design language.

Site Axon

The original sunken couryard cylinder arch space was the prototype for the roof system. Through the combination of different prefabricated components, the arch will be transformed from a single living space into a large-span public space. Optical fiber makes the underground space can get a good lighting effect.
The use of prefabricated industrialized components provides a convenient solution to the renovation of other sunken courtyards in Zhangdian, providing new possibilities for long-term regional conservation planning.
B-B Section

Ground Floor Plan and A-A Section

B1 Floor

B2 Floor

Exhibition Hall

The hall, as the beginning of the entire spatial sequence, carries the role of guiding the initial interaction of several groups of people. With the exhibition attracting the attention of tourists and investors, the government started from the exhibition hall to explore and experience other spaces. The villagers used the exhibition hall as a platform for promoting cultural life and local arts and crafts.


The library on the second basement is a cultural living space mainly serving the villagers. The sculptural staircase and the commemorative high-altitude space allow the space atmosphere to be separated from the upper communication and work space.


The internal courtyards and corridors, as a direct translator of the original building type, create a memorable space atmosphere. The differentiated materials and structures allow people to acquire different but same-sentimental feelings as the original buildings.


At the end of the space sequence is a auditorium for large-scale activities and commemorative exhibitions of villagers. Adjacent to the original building, the hall allows villagers to interact with traditional buildings during the event, arousing the lost collective memories.