Tracing the Roots - Re-birth and Re-interpretation of Wa Architectural Traditions

Jason Page Header Intro1
View towards the Village Square from the Lookout Platform

As the core carrier of material culture, vernacular architecture reflects the local cultural history and intuitively reflects the local lifestyle and spiritual outlook. However, vernacular architecture is different from other tangible and intangible cultures. Vernacular architecture is the most fragile tangible form because it can easily be misinterpreted by external culture. Once the architectural culture is destroyed, the culture endowed within the architecture will gradually disappear. 

This thesis will set foot on China's Wa ethnic community to analyse the vanishing vernacular village and architecture in Wa ethnic minorities' cultural continuity and propose to reclaim and refresh the architectural traditions within local resources.

The thesis will set in the frame of time to examine the "what is the tradition?" from traditional Wa village planning, the vernacular architecture's role and bamboo construction in the Wa community. 

It will then lead to the topic "what is the now?" to discuss the external impacts of a Wa settled village. Later, it will approach a "what is future?" topic to discuss the participatory solution associated with Wa architecture's developing pattern to provide renewal strategy for the Wa village to preserve and reinterpret the unique vanishing architecture architectural culture.

Within the research frame, the proposed design solution is to re-interpret the architectural tradition in the vernacular Wa society so that users and occupants can be involved in the creative process of the village's architecture.

The modern architectural practitioners need to build a platform for users and the community. This platform must be well thought out in terms of the demographic, climatic, geographical, religious and cultural responses to traditional architecture, to facilitate the inhabitants' ability to use their creativity and labour. 

The establishment of a platform will, on the one hand, reorganise the roles of the participants, construct and guide ways of participation to enable the users' emotional engagement with their homes. On the other hand, the platform will facilitate the guidance and control of residents' involvement in architectural design.

Reconstruct The Model
The Re-interpreted Wa Architectural Tradition in Contemporary Scene
Existing Vs Implement 1
Existing Site vs Design Implement

The proposed design solution is to associate the new practice tradition in the Wa society to develop an urban infrastructure with building a school/workshop, communal library and religious drum shrine. This will provide public services for villagers to regain lost building knowledge with local retrievable resources like bamboo. It will bring economic opportunities like bamboo processing materials, and promote eco-tourism for the village. 

In the meantime, the proposed design aims to raise the local Wa people's awareness of their cultural heritage and encourage their sense of pride and confidence.

Plan And Conception
Floor Plan and Planning Form Conceptions
Side By Side Content1 Workshop
View towards the Bamboo Treatment Facility
Side By Side Content2 Workshop
View towards the Bamboo Buildling School
Full Width Render And Axo
Bamboo Building School/workshop - Village Communal Library - Re-build Drumshrine
Long Section Content
Longitudinal Sections Across the Village