Macha Village Centre Construction Project, Huining County, Gansu

Site Background -Most villagers regard concrete/brick as a symbol of modern, well-off living standard, while building houses with mud is either old styled and backward. The construction of the Centre aims to showcase that rammed earth technique can be an even better, sustainable alternative for villages in future.

Following previous prototype-based demonstration, the Centre aims to further illustrate the potential of earth architecture and demonstrate that they can use rammed earth construction method to build safe, comfortable, decent and modern building with comparable construction cost and ease.

Villagers Benefited – around 2389 villagers (including 200 students)

Project Team – Xi’an University of Architecture and Technology, different University teams from Hong Kong, Princeton University, International Centre for Earth Construction (CRATerre-EAG)

Project Summary – The Centre has an area of 648 square metres, and provide a classroom for nearby primary school so that pre-school classes can be arranged for local village kids. The Centre will also provide a space for local village convenience store/pharmacy, and community space for villagers to gather up during festivals and important event dates. It is considered as a hub to organize further rammed earth construction, community enrichment projects together with the universities in Mainland, HK and overseas. During the construction period, the project will provide field based volunteering and internship experience for our Mainland, Hong Kong and overseas students. Currently, the design for this project has been finalized and targeted to construct from August, 2014.

Project Progress
August 2014, the design for this project was finalized and the project commenced. The Foundation organised 2 student construction trips (students from Hong Kong, the Mainland and overseas) to work with the local villagers.
End of 2014, all the rammed wall of the Centre was accomplished. The construction work was suspended due to local chilly weather.
March 2015, the construction resumed. The team will gradually accomplish ceiling installation, interior design, tree planting, dorrs and walls, etc.
23-26 May 2015, student teams and project supervisors from Hong Kong and the Mainland conducted joint investigation trip for the construction trip for volunteers to be held in the coming July. Please click and see【Investigation Report】(Chinese version only). Moreover, the team also investigated potentials bridge sites at the nearby Ningyuan Village.
22 July- 2 August 2015, The WZQ teams of Xi‘an University of Architecture and Technology and Hang Seng Management College jointly held the 2nd trip for volunteers to continue the construction, working on the ecological corn wall, bamboo ceiling and maintenance on rammed earth wall. Our volunteers also conducted workshop and donated books for local students, doing home visits at the locals etc. (More event pictures)
April 2016, with the support from the local masons and volunteers managed by the core construction team, Macha village centre construction project has come to the final stage. The completion ceremony is to be held in the end of July.
April 2016, Macha Village Center on the cover of Architectural Journal. Take a look at our articles by clicking“Exploring, Renewing and Inheriting the Tradition of Earthen Construction”生土營建傳統的發掘、更新與傳承“Macha Village Center”馬岔村村民活動中心“Of Feelings and Lives: On the Design of Macha Village Center”關乎情感以及生活本身——馬岔村村民活動中心設計 (Chinese only)
21 – 30 July 2016 The WZQ teams of Xi‘an University of Architecture and Technology and The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology jointly held the 3rd trip, actively working with the local villagers to start up different cultural activities in the newly constructed centre, including traditional paper cutting and shadow puppetry, an traditional form of storytelling and entertainment which has not been staged in the village for almost ten years. The villagers also played basketball and danced together with the volunteers in the plaza of the centre. A new set of seesaws were built for the kids. Nearly a thousand of villagers have been engaged in those events. (More event pictures)
30 July 2016 The centre was successfully completed on 30th of July in Macha Village, Huining County, Gansu. This project aims at not only fostering community life of villagers and community development, but also helping people overcome the stereotype that earth architecture is a sign of backwardness and further showcasing quality and modern village earth architecture for future villages. During the 2-year construction period, more than 110 university student volunteers from Hong Kong, the Mainland and overseas and around 40 local villagers contributed to the project. With the establishment of the centre, Wu Zhi Qiao will continue to exploit rammed-earth techniques to improve the living conditions of villagers in future. Also, Wu Zhi Qiao will continue to promote rammed-earth techniques, and organize university student volunteers from Hong Kong and the Mainland to launch more activities in the centre to enhance villager’s community life.

Design Concept】【News clippings

Public lecture – The Secret of Rammed Earth Architecture by Prof Mujun