The China Building Centre Group has launched an international competition for a series of installations to regenerate the disused village of Dongjingyu near Beijing (Deadline: 20 October)
Open to teams of landscape architects, planners, architects and artists, the ‘Ruins Rebirth’ contest seeks proposals for a range of sensitive interventions aimed at boosting tourism to the mountainous area.
The historic site, around one hour’s drive from Beijing International Airport, is expected to bring new business and leisure opportunities to the wider Tianjin province.
According to the brief: ‘As a point of departure for Dongjingyu Village’s regeneration masterplan, this competition seeks to respond to the rural revival movement across China and explore the local culture and charm of the village.
‘It is hoped that with sustained efforts of landscape and cultural intervention, the village will be transformed into a picturesque locus engaging a vibrant and diverse community, which will also contribute to the country’s rural revival and development of a new rural society.’
Founded in mid-Ming Dynasty, the ancient agricultural settlement was abandoned in the 1980s due to its inaccessibility and lack of fresh water and electricity.
Families relocated to nearby Taohuayuan having salvaged wood, stone and roof tiles from the ancient buildings, leaving the village in ruins.
The project, which is backed by Yuyang Township Government and Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute, aims to harness art and design to preserve the ancient settlement.
Proposals should address themes of preservation, symbiosis, feasibility and ecology while also reflecting environmental awareness and a genuine understanding of organic, low-carbon and sustainable construction.
Concepts may harness low cost and suitable materials but new technologies such as virtual reality could also be included.
Schemes will be judged on their design quality, aesthetics, respect for the site, feasibility of construction, and cultural, tourism and economic benefits.
Judges include landscape architect Jürgen Weidinger, Tsinghua University professor Yufan Zhu, and Jingtao Huang of the Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute.
The winning team – set to be announced in November – will receive 100,000 CNY and two second-place teams will receive 50,000 CNY each.
Five third-place prizes – worth 30,000 CNY each – and 10 honourable mentions will also be awarded.
How to apply
The deadline for applications is 20 October
Visit the competition website for more information
Hinterland case study: Q&A with Avanti Architects
The London studio discusses lessons learned restoring the abandoned St Peter’s Seminary in Scotland
How will your St Peter’s Seminary project create a new arts venue within an historic ruin?
The St Peter’s Seminary project is an ambitious scheme to reclaim the future of this Grade A listed Modernist ruin in Argyll and Bute, and the surrounding woodland landscape of Kilmahew. Our approach will combine the consolidation of the building in its current state of ruination with partial restoration and new design. Avanti Architects, Brian McGinlay formerly of NORD Architecture, and ERZ Landscape Architects, have developed proposals that include the consolidation of the main seminary building as a ‘raw’ frame, with restoration of the chapel and sanctuary including the ziggurat rooflight as an enclosed events space. The event space will be fully upgraded to incorporate sound, lighting, AV and back-stage support provision, to become a dramatic setting for public art, performance, learning and debate. The vision accepts loss and ruination as part of the site history. Rather than rubbing off the hard edges to create a polished version of the past, the intention is to preserve the site’s raw magnificence. The main pathways of the Victorian landscape will be reclaimed, historic bridges repaired, and the walled garden will be brought back into productive public use as a hub for growing and learning activities.
What considerations are important when introducing new public facilities to a long-abandoned location?
The buildings and landscape have acquired a cultural status that has increased with inverse proportion to its state of repair, resulting in the derelict site being regularly visited by a wide range of people. St Peter’s status almost requires a double assessment of significance – as built and in its current state. While there are the practical issues such as ensuring public safety, securing the site, repairing decaying concrete and renewing failed roofs, the principal challenge is introducing a new public use. Our teams approach to this challenge is to undertake the work incrementally over several phases, so that the eventual outcome can adapt and change as needed.
There have been many failed attempts to regenerate the building, many of which have been defeated by its specificity and the fact that it was designed closely to one programme. Arts charity NVA’s mission is to make powerful public art that reaffirms people’s connection to the built and natural heritage’ by involving the local community and external parties, with it being as much about the process as the end use. This is exhibited by the recent Hinterland project which invited the public to engage with the derelict structure and celebrate the journey of transition of this architectural icon.
How would you set about designing a new installation that respects and celebrates Dongjingyu Village’s unique context?
Key to designing any new intervention relies on a forensic understanding of the heritage asset and what is significant about the site. That can range from its use, to the reasons why it was abandoned, to the site’s geology. Only then can you formulate an appropriate response to the brief. Avanti developed a sustainable masterplan for a site located on the north east of Chongqing on the ridge of the mountain Tieshanping. Surrounded by a beautiful setting of lakes, forest and mountain terrain, the masterplan covers 67ha, principally for leisure uses. The design seeks to ensure the new buildings work closely with the topography, with building lines maintained in the form of a ‘framing necklace’ across the landscape.