Dongziguan Villagers' Activity Center

by gad

Client Changkou Town Government in Fuyang District of Hangzhou
Awards RIBA International Awards for Excellence 2021

© Yi Fan

Dongziguan Villagers' Activity Centre by gad is a modest community building that serves a large development of new housing which is also by the same architects. The housing was not part of this award submission. The images and drawings of the Villagers’ Activity Centre clearly illustrate both a strong architectural intention and an ambition to create a building that encourages public engagement and a sense of community.

© Yi Fan

The idea is explicit, a collection of individual brick walled community rooms are loosely covered by an over-sailing, timber structured, terracotta tiled roof. The spaces between the rooms although sheltered by the roof are open to the pedestrian lanes that connect the building into the greater masterplan. Indeed the building invites these public routes to percolate through it. These routes give access to each enclosed room at ground level with stairs leading up to further open public areas on the roofs of the individual rooms. The brief for both room and route is open and capable of change, accommodating uses such as market, community rooms, games room and library.

The Villagers' Activity Centre distinguishes itself materially and aesthetically from the housing. The housing is characterised by white rendered facades and swooping roof forms while the Villagers' Activity Centre is made of grey horizontally expressed brick, topped by a prismatic pitched roof form. The material and detail resolution is very direct and robust. There is a sense that the building will age well.

© Yilong Zhao

The village is very new and therefore a real sense of belonging and with it relaxed, spontaneous daily activity has yet to fully emerge. The jury however were confident that through the clarity of the architectural proposition along with the directness of detail and material the building was not only poised to accommodate this expectation but that its design would actively foster it.

There was a sense that in a few years’ time a thriving community will have established itself. The streets and lanes will be busy with people going about their business. Then the Villagers' Activity Centre will have become just that, a sequence of small semi external spaces full of activity of all sorts, markets, community groups, life, noise, laughter, colour and movement.

In short, the jury thoroughly enjoyed the way its clarity and modesty of this building belied its strong social aims.

© Yi Fan

Date of completion January 2018
Location Hangzhou, China
Cost Confidential
Internal area 686.60 m²

© Yi Fan
© gad
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