A.Anything that is not a city still has an image problem. This is not only the case in Germany, where every second crime scene portrays the village as the origin of all evil, as the place of those left behind who did not make it into the city: pensioners, neo-Nazis, frustrated farmers – the townspeople who are still in the process delighted in avenues and lakes, shuddered when he even imagined the rural population. Rural regions not only need fast internet, but also a general overhaul of their external perception.
In Galicia, the architect David Chipperfield took on this task. With the Fundación Ria he tries to stimulate sustainable economic growth in the region by specifically strengthening and emphasizing the local characteristics. In Andermatt, Switzerland, the investor Samih Sawiris wants to revive the sleepy place through the strategic construction of hotels and ski lifts. The Berlin architecture gallery Aedes has now presented another interesting approach. In the work “The Songyang Story. Architectural Acupuncture as Driver for Rural Revitalization in China “, a holistic project from China is presented, which is not limited to alleviating the symptoms, but aims to tackle the causes of rural exodus at the roots and combat them by returning to one’s own strengths.
The Chinese region of Songyang was rebuilt by the Beijing architect Xu Tiantian, the founder of DnA_Design and Architecture, using the very method she calls “Architectural Acupuncture”. It relies on a holistic method that works with small budgets in order to preserve the special features of the individual regions and make them a strength at a time when the world’s megacities are becoming more and more similar. Because it is primarily economic reasons that drive people to the cities, it is quite obvious that regional businesses have to be established or strengthened in order to create incentives to stay. Since the Chinese President Xi Jinping ordered a comprehensive renovation program in the rural provinces in 2017, there has been money and resources for strengthening the “rural identity”. One could also speak of an architecture-based image campaign.
Songyang is around five hours’ drive southwest of Shanghai and is made up of various villages that were previously loosely or not at all connected. As if to set healing architectural pinpricks, Tiantian has built a museum in the traditional architecture customary in the village of Hakka; the house gave the three remaining stonemasons the opportunity to pass on their knowledge. At the same time, various empty courtyards were converted into guest accommodations.