Gangtou Culture House, Guangzhou, China

Located in Huadu District in Guangzhou, Gangtou Village is a 600-year old traditional rural village. This historically significant site includes well-preserved buildings dating back to the Ming and Qing Dynasties and the Republican Period. These artifacts include ancestral temples, ancient bridges, and houses, making it an "open-air museum of Lingnan architecture". Along with its rich history of producing academic scholars, Gangtou village seeks to reinvent itself as a destination for the arts, culture, and heritage.

With rapid urbanization rates, China is seeking new means to bridge the gap between the rural and urban population. However, the process of rural urbanization often erases the definition of what it means to be a rural villager. Agricultural land and villages are often wiped clean of all previous historic or cultural significance to make way for urbanization.

In order to transition the gap between rural and urban, it is crucial to distill and safeguard the traditions and characteristics of the rural way of life in China. Learning from the dominant typology of the Sanheyuan and the embedded cultural and philosophical thinking, we extract the underpinning characteristics and principles and apply it to our design. The result is an architecture that is visually contemporary, yet conceptually deeply rooted in historic precedence.

Gangtou Culture House seeks to invite scholars, artists, and visitors to come and learn about the unique Lingnan art and architecture. The Culture house includes an Exhibition Hall, Tea House, Learning Center, Retail, and Guesthouses. The combination of existing traditional buildings and new interventions results in a rich collection of spatial typologies hosting a mix of programs. The amalgamation of cultural, leisure, and educational programs, combined with public spaces of various scales will allow villagers to display their culture and share their way of life to visitors.

Location: Guangzhou, China
Client: China Building Center  
Year: 2020
Status: 3rd Prize Winner
Scope: Masterplan, Architecture
Program: Culture, Institution, Education, Hotel
Size: 2000 sqm
Team: Kelvin Ho, Douglas Lee, Nicolas Lee