Today, if we discuss the concept of “home” from the perspective of region, Shantou must be a wonderful topic that cannot be ignore. This is also the beginning for us to think about this community cultural center project.
Nowadays, it’s hard to realize the cultural traditions hidden in this exquisiteness when enjoying the taste of Chaoshan beef. The word “home” is the gene of the whole Chaoshan culture. The Chaoshan people build a tight circle with the family. This culture developed in the intensive cultivation of the agricultural society seems to be mutually exclusive with the openness and tolerance of modern society. This difference is essentially the friction between the traditional Oriental order and the modern culture. This friction is also reflected in the space of traditional Oriental ethics and the content of contemporary life. We should establish a balance between the two which will explode enormous energy when they are combined.
工与自然 / Artificial & Nature
When the traditional life represented by “courtyard” and “garden” has become a recessive culture in a large number of areas, we find that this traditional and even some conservative lifestyle is the foundation of the Chaoshan culture. The community cultural center is an introverted building. The space prototype comes from the Chinese characters “gong” of traditional Chaoshan dwellings. The courtyards and flower corridors organize the daily life of the Chaoshan. “I can’t help to stay here and make a pot of kungfu tea. Then relax all the day.”
静谧的内院空间 / Courtyard Space
As an East-style Eden, Chinese garden carries people’s yearning for the harmony between human and nature. Whether it is Guo Xi’s “Don’t sit down in the cold springs” or Sima Yi’s “There is no need to be far away”, it reflects a vision of living and nature. This is also the living environment that we want to create: it is easy to get close to nature or get a good living environment when you open or close the doors.
内向与具足/Inward & Satisfy
The Chaoshan, as well as the traditional courtyards in the south of the Yangtze River and even the whole of China, follow the layout of the “nourishing water merges into the hall from all directions”. The roof of the building rises inward, and rainwater flows into the courtyard from all sides.This spatial pattern also reflects a traditional form of social organization. People live in groups by family, and the courtyards surrounded by buildings become the center of people’s communication and social activities.
This inward courtyard brings us more than just privacy. In 1951, Luis Balagan gave a speech on “The Secret Garden”. In this speech, he mentioned “radio and television bring news into the bedroom. Modern people live in the public, like an open garden. It lacks the charm of an intimate garden. The open garden is not conducive to physical and spiritual relaxation, we will pass by, but will not stop… What time in the day can modern people contemplate and allow imagination to make spiritual pleasure? In life, may we get the peace we need?” Today, we still face the same problem, the public invades the personal field, making people distracted.
At the beginning, we considered the local climate characteristics and installed a complete rainwater collection and purification system in the building, which made the building can connect with and respond to its natural environment to promote efficiency and health. In the internal environment, the community cultural center can still operate independently for a period of time in the case of external water and power outages.
活动与生长/ Activity & Growing
Several gardens of different sizes and different scenes are scattered throughout the cultural center, connected by straight lines. A series of different venues and spaces are placed in this place. This is both the smallest place in modern life and also a complete mapping of an objective world of growth. In this mapping, the traditional order still occupies the center of the hub position. Each small space in the surrounding growing up and overlapping each other.
The courtyard between the wall and the building leaves a large space for natural growth, creating the possibility of positive interaction between man and nature. The moment when the building is completed is also the starting point for the environment. Over time, in the cultural center, the proportion of nature and labor will change quietly. The interaction between man and nature will gradually change: children run under the tree, people lean on the tree,and people sit down and chat.