Bridging Communities - Taiping Bridge Renovation Project
- Date & Time:
April 17, 2013 (Wed) | 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.
Room P6-03, Graduate House
Mr John Lin
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Architecture
Mr John Lin received the Faculty Knowledge Exchange (KE) Award 2012 of the Faculty of Architecture for the project entitled "Taiping Bridge Renovation Project".
The TaiPing Bridge Project was a two-year reconstruction and surface renovation project of a historic 300 year-old bridge in Guizhou Province, China. Led by students and professors at The University of Hong Kong in collaboration with Chongqing University, the project addresses the sustainable development and rapid urbanization of rural Chinese villages. Like most rural areas in China, the village has undergone massive changes, reflective of the rapid urbanization process elsewhere. The project attempted to reconcile the long history of the existing masonry construction with modern techniques of pre-cast concrete. Though the primary task was to repair a collapsed arch, the larger problem was how to revitalize the once important and historic location. Precast concrete was used to rebuild the arch as well as pave the bridge. Bridge pavers were custom designed to transform into planters at various scales as well as seating. In this way the bridge was re-programmed as a public space. Volunteers and villagers planted the bridge with a combination of donated plants and wild varieties sourced from the surrounding mountains.
From start to finish the most important element of the project was the number of parties that were involved in realizing the project. Not only was the work conducted by an NGO and two universities, there was no direct client. The dialogue between a group of students and a community of villagers was the underlying form of communication. The coordination of contractors, factory workers, local government, ministry of construction officials, village heads, professors and students was crucial. The number of parties involved is directly reflective of the impact that the project hopes to achieve. Though the physical project is somewhat straightforward there are currently no institutionalized pathways for funding and implementing a project of this nature. The real challenge was the design of the network of collaborations. This was the most important bridge.