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Appreciation towards Architecture and Engineering Co. Ltd. of southeast University for providing the following description:
Lixiang Village is a village about 60 kilometers away from the Nanjing city. It is a plain village near the mountain. The canals and ponds in Lixiang were formed by the rivers in the nearby mountains flowing through rice fields and villages. In recent years, Li Xiang has attracted many tourists for sightseeing because of the blueberry planting industry and characteristic historical culture. However, the original public facilities in the village could not meet the increasing demand for tourist services. Hence, in 2016, the ATA design team renovated some of the abandoned houses in the village to create a new village alley that runs through the interior of the village and integrates the function of tourist services, catering, historical exhibitions, cultural and creative exhibitions and sales. This new village alley is not closed, but integrated with the houses. The business opportunities of the tourists in the village have attracted many aboriginal villagers to return to their hometowns to operate hotels and homestays and sell agricultural products.
▼视频，video ©东南大学建筑设计研究院有限公司 建筑技术与艺术（ATA）工作室
However, 3 issues were exposed during the rural revitalization. The first is the issue of concentrated parking for tourists. In order to avoid traffic congestion, the government has built a centralized parking lot outside the village, but the route of tourists entering the village after leaving the vehicle needs to be re-planned and organized; the second is the issue of centralized accommodation. The compact building layout in the village does not have the conditions to provide a large number of tourists with concentrated accommodation. The problem of accommodation is an urgent issue to be solved. The third is that with the increase of tourists and the return of villagers, the daily public activity space of villagers has become crowded gradually.
▼建筑、水渠与远山，Architecture, canal and distant mountain © timeraw
▼停车场与乡村旅舍的夜景，Night view of parking lot and the rural hostel ©timeraw
These problems all reflect the requirements that need to be met in the process of China’s rural revitalization. On the one hand, suburban villages must meet the consumption needs of urban tourists that tourists hope to find pastoral scenery and customs in the countryside; on the other hand, on the basis of preserving rural characteristics, it is necessary to improve the life quality of the villagers and provide them with convenient public service facilities. Therefore, this kind of rural public space in the suburbs needs to meet the requirements of both tourists and villagers.
▼项目鸟瞰，Aerial view of the project ©timeraw
In this background, in 2018, the ATA design team once again carried out the renovation and expansion design of the original village committee compound: (1) Planning rural hostels to provide accommodation services for tourists; (2) Designing pedestrian bridges and re-planning the entrance route to the village; (3) Build villager activity centers to improve the rural tourism environment while also further improving rural public life.
▼乡村活动中心夜景，Night view of the village activity center ©timeraw
New tour routes into the village
Due to historical reasons, the ancestral hall of Lixiang Village is located on the north side of the village, separated from the village by a piece of farmland. The compound of the village committee yard is adjacent to the east side of the ancestral hall. The southeast sides of the yard is surrounded by rivers and canals. It is usually used as a place for villagers to discuss and handle affairs. There are existing pine and cedar trees in the courtyard and two drained cedars. The parking lot built for tourists is across the canal from the village committee compound. After sorting out the site conditions and planning the entire village tour route, it is planned to build a pedestrian bridge over the canal to connect the parking lot, ancestral hall, field and village on the opposite bank, and create a new village entrance public space around the bridge. In this way making the tourists enter the village with the sense of experience.
▼空间轴测图，Spatial axonometric ©东南大学建筑设计研究院有限公司 建筑技术与艺术（ATA）工作室
▼改造前后的对比，Comparison before and after transformation ©东南大学建筑设计研究院有限公司 建筑技术与艺术（ATA）工作室
Irrigation ditch is an important water conservancy facility in the village. It is nearly 30 meters wide and has flood discharge function. Therefore, it is forbidden to set up bridge piers in the river, which means that the span of the pedestrian bridge will reach 30 meters. In addition, in order to meet the passing of a concentrated flow of people such as tour groups, the width of the bridge must also meet certain requirements.
▼人行桥鸟瞰图，Aerial view of pedestrian bridge ©timeraw
However, the structure of pedestrian bridges is not only affected by span and width, but also restricted by transportation, installation, and construction conditions. Especially in the rural construction environment, these restrictive factors have a particularly impact on the design. obvious.
▼烟雨中的乡间人行桥，The country pedestrian bridge in the misty rain ©timeraw
▼乡村人行桥受到游客的喜爱，The country pedestrian bridge is popular with tourists ©timeraw
作为一种高效的大跨度空间结构体系，张弦梁(Beam String Structure)是由上弦的刚性构件(Beam)和高强度的张拉索/杆(String)，再通过若干个撑杆(Strut)连接而组成的刚柔混合结构，利用形抗和预张力抵抗外部荷载。在李巷采用这种形式，主要是为了尽量降低上弦刚性构件的截面尺寸，避免人行桥的体量显得庞大、厚重而与周围乡野环境格格不入，从侧向看，向上隆起的桥面钢箱梁与向下弯曲的拉索共同组成一个鱼腹形状，而在平面上，内收的桥身弧线与内收的拉索同样营造出一种空间张力。
▼蝶状腹杆的变化呈现出一种独特视觉效果，The butterfly-shaped abdominal rod presents a unique visual ©timeraw
▼张弦梁的下弦拉索与村民的垂钓，The lower string cable of beam string and villagers’ fishing ©timeraw
Taking into account the characteristics of Lixiang as a suburban village and a developed rural road network in the Yangtze River Delta, the final plan adopted by the design team is Beam String Structure pedestrian bridge with string beams. As an efficient large-span spatial structure system, the Beam String Structure is a rigid-flexible hybrid structure composed of a rigid beam and a high-strength string connected by several Struts. It uses form resistance and pretension to resist external loads. The main purpose of applying this form in Lixiang is to minimize the cross-sectional size of the winding rigid members, and to avoid the large and heavy pedestrian bridges that are incompatible with the surrounding rural environment. Viewed from the side, the upwardly bulging steel box girder of the bridge deck and the downwardly curved cable form a fish belly shape. On the plane, the inwardly retracted bridge body arc and the inwardly retracted cable also create a kind of spatial tension.
▼桥作为村民的社会交往场所，Pedestrian bridge as a place for villagers’ social communication ©timeraw
The random arrangement of the bridge fence echoes the surrounding natural environment ©timeraw
The curve changes in the two dimensions are linked together by 9 gradually changing butterfly-shaped abdominal rods, forming a unique spatial change effect. The railings on the bridge are arranged in the form of glued bamboo pieces of different lengths, which emphasizes the lightness and ruralization of the pedestrian bridge. The bridge was made at a shipyard in Zhangjiagang, 180 kilometers away from Lixiang, and then transported to the site by heavy trucks and then hoisted by a large crane. On that day, witnessed by the villagers, the construction team set off firecrackers to pray for blessings like building the main beam of a house.
▼人行桥也成为村民的日常出行之路，Pedestrian bridge has also become the daily travel way of villagers ©timeraw
▼张弦梁结构中的钢箱梁、蝶状腹杆和下弦拉索，Steel box girder, butterfly-shaped abdominal rod and lower chord cable in beam structure ©timeraw
Public space at the entrance to the village
Before the reconstruction, the village committee had always been the place for the villagers to discuss and handle affairs. The villagers handled affairs at the government affairs window here, and reported various problems to the staff. They would often get a medicine in the village clinic and then chart with old acquaintances under the metasequoia tree. Therefore, the village committee has always been a public space used by villagers on a daily basis. The two rows of tall metasequoias on the site reflect the remarkable memory characteristics of the site.
▼改造后形成的新村巷，New Village Lane formed after reconstruction ©timeraw
From this, we found that the public activity places that make the villagers feel comfortable are not the neatly arranged indoors, but the outdoor and semi-outdoor spaces such as the bridgeheads and under the trees at the entrance of the village, and the verandahs and pergola beside the village passage. In this space, people can feel the nature and observe the passing visitors. This is a familiar way for them to obtain information, and this space is also a place to find the “village entrance” that nostalgic travelers hope to experience. In this new “village alley” which enclosed by buildings and metasequoia trees, visitors are guided from the bridgehead to the small square in front of the ancestral hall.
▼保留的水杉是场地的重要记忆，The preserved metasequoia is an important memory of the site ©timeraw
▼树下、廊下的村民交流空间，Villagers’ communication space under metasequoia and corridors ©timeraw
Under the metasequoia is still the place for villagers to chat ©timeraw
The rational organization of the design and utilization of functions and spaces preserves and continues the discussion places of the villagers, and displays it as a feature to tourists, which enhances the communication between the villagers and tourists. In the small public buildings at the entrance of these villages, there are not only tourist rest rooms, information desks, public toilets, but also rural canteens, rural multi-functional activity halls, and open rest sheds, so that different people can use and enjoy among them.
▼乡土材料与现代工艺的结合 ，The combination of local materials and modern technology ©timeraw
▼乡村功能厅，Rural multifunctional hall ©wang haihua
▼旅店的小广场也是村民聚会的场所，The small square of the hotel is also a place for villagers to get together ©timeraw
▼乡村的生活场景是吸引游客的要素，Rural life scene is the key factor to attract tourists ©timeraw
As a building with external service functions, rural hostels need to be designed to combine tourist accommodation with villagers’ activities in a limited space. The ATA design team renovated and expanded the original three-story office building, and expanded the original linear shape layout into an L-shaped layout to form the guest room area of the rural hostel, and the inner courtyard enclosed by the pergola on the east side retains the memory of the original place and becomes a small rural square for the daily activities of the villagers and tourists, and it can also be used as a drying farm for the villagers when the farm is busy. The pergola and rural multi-function hall can be used by villagers and tourists. The restaurant of the hostel is also integrated with the rural canteen. Villagers can also use these spaces to hold folk performances and guest banquets. The design hopes that the villagers’ activities and behaviors will occur in these spaces at the same time. It is also shown to tourists as the customs of the countryside.
▼乡村旅舍客房的外廊，Veranda of the rural hostel guest room ©timeraw
▼乡村旅舍的餐厅，The dining room of the rural hostel ©timeraw
▼带阁楼的客房，The loft room ©wang haihua
▼标准客房内景，Interior view of standard room ©wang haihua
China is the world’s largest bamboo production and processing country. The growth cycle of bamboo is very short, so this low-carbon and environmentally friendly material is in line with China’s national conditions. The processed bamboo engineering materials can be widely used in a variety of climate areas. The multiple parts of the architecture use the technology of prefabricated construction, and use the glued bamboo as the construction materials to reduce the carbon emissions.
▼凉棚夜景，Night view of shed ©timeraw
▼凉棚是村民和旅客共享的空间，The shed is a space shared by villagers and tourists ©timeraw
In terms of construction technology, it does not adhere to the style of traditional local buildings, but draws inspiration from rural construction, uses modern technology to process and build, enhance the quality of rural buildings, and promote the upgrading of rural construction technology. The combined use of glued bamboo and steel components realizes the feasibility of installation of small-sized structural members under rural construction conditions, and uses small-sized structural components to form a large indoor space. The design explores a way of constructing public spaces in the suburbs of Chinese cities, which not only realizes the modernization of rural construction, but also protects the cultural characteristics of the countryside, which reflects contemporary thinking on rural construction.
▼胶合竹结构的拉锁与张弦梁的拉锁相呼应，The cable of glued bamboo structure echoes with the cable of beam string ©timeraw
▼胶合竹结构呈现出的结构美感，The aesthetic feeling of glued bamboo structure ©timeraw
Significance of the project
Rural renovation is not an adventure of the city to countryside, but the connection between villages and the external modern word on the basis of preserving the rural environment and culture, which eventually improves the life quality of villagers and attracts more villagers who go out to return to rural life. This can realize the rural revitalization which can also conform the rural characteristics. The daily activities of the villagers and the sightseeing behaviors of tourists are jointly organized in a new rural public space. It is not only a way for local villagers to understand the outside world, but also a way for tourists to understand the local customs. It shows that in the process of integrating the suburban villages into urbanization, the construction must not only meet the needs of rural development, but also take into account the vital interests of local villagers. Only in this way can it promote the healthy development of the rural economy and society.
▼手绘图，sketch ©东南大学建筑设计研究院有限公司 建筑技术与艺术（ATA）工作室
▼胶合竹结构的建造构成分析，Analysis on construction composition of glued bamboo structure ©东南大学建筑设计研究院有限公司 建筑技术与艺术（ATA）工作室
▼新的游客进村游线，New tourist routes to the village ©东南大学建筑设计研究院有限公司 建筑技术与艺术（ATA）工作室
▼总平面图，site plan ©东南大学建筑设计研究院有限公司 建筑技术与艺术（ATA）工作室
▼一层平面图，first floor plan ©东南大学建筑设计研究院有限公司 建筑技术与艺术（ATA）工作室
▼二层平面图，second floor plan ©东南大学建筑设计研究院有限公司 建筑技术与艺术（ATA）工作室
▼三层平面图，third floor plan ©东南大学建筑设计研究院有限公司 建筑技术与艺术（ATA）工作室
▼东西立面图，east and west facades ©东南大学建筑设计研究院有限公司 建筑技术与艺术（ATA）工作室
▼南立面与东立面图，south and east facades ©东南大学建筑设计研究院有限公司 建筑技术与艺术（ATA）工作室
▼剖面图，sections ©东南大学建筑设计研究院有限公司 建筑技术与艺术（ATA）工作室
项目设计 & 完成年份：2018&2019
Project name：A new start to the countryside —— Public space regeneration at the entrance of Lixiang Village
Design：Architectural and Engineers Co., Ltd of Research Institute of Southeast University，Architectural Technology and Art studio
Design year & Completion Year：2018&2019
Leader designer & Team：Li Zhu&Wang Jiajun, Wu Wei
Project location：Lixiang village, Baima Town, Lishui District, Nanjing
Gross Built Area：4950㎡
Brands / Products used in the project：Glued bamboo / Jiangsu Jianzhu Lvjian Bamboo Technology Co., Ltd., Concrete floor / Nanjing Yunduo Technology Co., Ltd