Rural Chinese Village Rebuilt With Eco-Friendly Homes And Rooftop Gardens

Devastated by multiple natural disasters, a village in China has been rebuilt into a more urban community that features 26 homes and a community center. These homes feature a rainwater harvesting system, natural lighting, and rooftop gardens to grow fresh crops.


May 22 2019, Updated 10:38 a.m. ET

China’s Sichuan Province has been hit with multiple natural disasters in the past decade, leading to the destruction of homes in rural areas. Rebuilding efforts like these are what spawned the Rural Urban Framework (RUF), who transforms rural communities to more collaborative urban environments. They completed a new projected out of the devastation in Jintai Village that features “green-roofed” homes and other sustainable benefits.

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In 2008, the Sichuan earthquake had an 8.0 magnitude with total casualties reaching 68,636 in the province. It injured hundreds of thousands more and it left over 4.8 million people homeless. Just three years after that, the same area had to deal with massive floods and landslides that destroyed some of the rebuilt homes from the deadly earthquake.

To help those that have lost a home from a natural disaster, the goal was to create a more environmentally friendly neighborhood. The RUF created a prototype village that featured 26 houses built closely together. They were able to make as much use out of the useable land as possible while also mimicking an urban city. The entire project measures at just over 43,000 square feet.

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Every house includes a rooftop garden instead of a backyard. Not only does this provide an area for everyone to grow their own crops, but they also have a fresh rainwater harvesting system -- each home will be staggered to create this. To make things a bit more unique, there are four different rooftop garden setups. Some examples include roofs with ridges or a diamond-shaped pitch.

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Along with renewable rainwater harvesting, windows will be placed in specific areas to maximize natural lighting. Insulation is made out of straw that will be along the concrete framework. Each home will have brick facades. A community center will be built next to the homes, providing a great meeting area for local events. This will also provide additional space for growing crops.

"This is an investigation into modern rural livelihood," Rural Urban Framework told Dezeen. "With tens of thousands of newly planned villages occurring in China today, the challenge is to plan villages as authentic places whereby the spatial organisation and physical expression is derived directly from its relationship to its natural environment."

The RUF’s Jintai Village project began back in 2012 and cost roughly $600,000 US to create. Another project the organization is responsible for is the Yongxin Secondary School prototype in the Jiangxi Province. This massive six-acre, $3 million US project features four secondary schools that bring in 3,300 students from rural areas in the region.

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