The history and civilization of the Hakka people is inseparable from their perennial status as “guests” in foreign cultures and the geography of the places to which they have adapted throughout their long migration and cultural evolution. As newcomers arriving in foreign lands, the Hakka would almost invariably find that the only places left to inhabit were mountainous regions. Through much effort, innovation and perseverance, the Hakka transformed this inhospitable environment into thriving agricultural lands by carving fields into the mountain slopes. As the Hakka reshaped the land, so has the land shaped the Hakka. The proposed design seeks to explore this very basic theme.
The natural state of the site has distinctive east-west ridge and valley pattern. To make way for roads and modern development, however, ridges and valleys have given way to randomly flattened plateaus. By creating a series of interwoven building masses and open plazas, our designs seeks not only to evoke the Mountain and Field pattern of Hakka lands, but to symbolically reclaim the native terrain. The ever-changing perspectives that are afforded as one wanders between the plazas and the building blocks allude to the historical experience of migrating from land to land, mountain to mountain. The blurring of landscape and architecture symbolizes the absorptive and adaptive Hakka culture and its the deep connection to the land.
The Hakka peoples’ respect for the land is reflected in their architecture, always modestly situated and fitted in the fields. Similarly, with the mass of the buildings is kept low out of deference to the beauty of the surrounding views, the architecture is integrated into landscape to create artificial landforms that echo the original topograpy.
Sustainable Design Features:
– Contours are re-graded to prevent straight water run-off
– Green roofs increase building insulation and temperature regulation, provides habitat for local ecology, and improves aesthetic when viewed from upslope.
– Underground storage tanks provide for water reclamation from storm water and building grey water for reuse.
-Buildings are partially buried. Geothermal mass provides improved temperature control.
– Ample curtain wall and operable windows with high-performance glazing control natural light and provide natural ventilation.