Space Improvement Plan for Zaiwan Village, Xiuwu County, Henan Province, China by 3andwich Design

From Ordinary Village to Museum of Living Style of the North Henan Folk Residence

Project Specs


非常感谢 三文建筑 / 何崴工作室 予gooood分享以下内容更多关于他们3andwich Design/He Wei Studio on gooood
Appreciation towards 3andwich Design/He Wei Studio for providing the following description: 


Background and original appearance: rural revitalization led by aesthetics and a three-no ordinary village




▼宰湾村鸟瞰,一个真实的普通乡村,bird view of Zaiwan village, a real normal village ©金伟琦

Xiuwu County is located in Jiaozuo City, Henan Province, and belongs to the north of Henan. In recent years, Xiuwu County has vigorously advocated the path of rural revitalization led by aesthetics, and has achieved remarkable results.

Zaiwan Village is a typical plain village, which belongs to Qixian Town. The whole village was relocated in 1960s, and the spatial structure was in the shape of fish bone, without historical buildings. In lack of landscape, the village’s west side is close to the national highway, and the hills on the East belong to military zone forbidden from entering. The village has no cultivated land or collective economy. Villagers are not poor who work either in service industry at the Yuntai Mountain scenic spot or in nearby mines, but they lack endogenous power in the long run.

Facing such a “three-no” village (no scenery, no style and features, no industry), how to improve it is a difficult problem: not only not to conform to conventional pattern of simple painting and plastering, but also to give the village new personality within the limited cost.

▼主街与街巷,采用不同的地绘手法,the floor painting methods of the main street and the streets are different ©金伟琦


Title elaboration: Museum of Living Style of the North Henan Folk Residence of the Past 40 Years Since the Reform and Opening-up



The architect found that the characteristics of division of historic periods of the village houses were clear and existed in the form of “slicing”. In addition, there were a lot of traces of spontaneous construction, such as colored steel shed and photovoltaic board, which makes the village appear chaotic but real, which is a living specimen of the changes of the residential buildings in Northern Henan in recent 40 years. If read from a deeper level, you will find that these marks also reflect the people’s spontaneous pursuit of a better life after the Reform and Opening-up, and the actual actions of the party and the government to improve the people’s life.

This project just hopes to sort out and enlarge the sample construction through aesthetic design, so as to make it clear and systematic.

▼提升后的主街,the main street after the upgrade ©金伟琦


Planning and design conception: point-line-plane structure and the implementation path



The planning and design is divided into several steps: first, the village texture and self-built traces are preserved to form the fundamental plane of the living museum. Then, the environmental health, village roads, spaces before and behind the houses, village lighting and so on are promoted as a whole, so as to provide better living conditions for the villagers. After that, a boutique visiting route and space nodes are created.

The improvement of village infrastructure includes: white cement pavements changed to black asphalt pavement, greening increased, weak current cables buried into ground, original street lamps replaced with photovoltaic ones, walls of bare houses treated, and the sewer pipes dredged and hidden. The boutique visiting route is a “time axis”, which connects the construction behaviors of Zaiwan Village in the past 40 years. For the roads and walls, the design applies artistic treatment. And street furniture and game devices are added, so that it becomes the main site for villagers’ public life. In the important positions, space nodes are added, including: Gallery of North Henan Folk Residence, village marker, elevation transformation of the village health center, art device of Spring Blossoms, Square of Double Happiness and Pisces, etc. They form a node sequence with the village committee in the southern part.

▼规划结构示意图,the structure of village planning ©三文建筑


Narrative landscape and public art: improving the space quality by means of public art and landscape, with emphasis on narrative expression


The new designed landscape and public art have strong narrative characteristics, which provide clues for reading this special museum and can be divided into four categories: pavement, wall, installation and street furniture.

the colored ribbons, explanatory texts and installations together with the residential base build a narrative landscape of the main street ©金伟琦


The main north-south street is composed of three color strip graphics, yellow for gas pipeline, green for weak current line and blue for sewer pipeline, and together with explanatory text, the artistic narration of main street pavement is constructed. The design is based on the following: the “scars” left by the pipelines laying on the pavement for many times. The architect believe that these scars record the construction process, and can be transformed into graphic expression and form a special text. Street furniture is not only functional, but also the continuation of the pavement narrative, which is also in blue, green and yellow, and is connected with the ground color strips. The streets and lanes are relatively relaxed, and children’s paintings are selected, and there are also games loved by children, such as hopscotch and mazes. They provide a place for children in the village.

the main street floor painting and street furniture, sometimes parallel, sometimes tangled ©金伟琦

▼街巷路面上的迷宫图案,the maze pattern on the street ©金伟琦

▼儿童沿着地绘图案奔跑、玩耍,children running and playing along the floor painting ©金伟琦

▼当地儿童在自家门口画的老鼠图案,the mouse drawn by a local kid in front of his family ©何崴


The paintings on walls also emphasize artistic narration and interest. For example, as for the wall drawing of street lights, the architect found that there are many street lights in the village that protruded from the external walls of the building. So the theme of light and pole is drawn in corresponding position, suggesting the event of building insulation was added to cover light pole.

the wall painting of streetlighting, reflect the village adding insulation ©金伟琦

▼(左)儿童与墙绘互动,the interaction between the kid and the wall painting ©金伟琦
(右)裸墙整治及其说明标牌,bare wall renovation and its instruction ©金伟琦


In the middle of the main street, a set of game devices are installed. Instead of high-tech and expensive materials, it’s been a simple set of pipes and microphones. It is the continuation and artistic expression of the village infrastructure pipelines. The new device is connected with wall drawings, original pipelines and color belt patterns painted on the ground form the three-dimensional space narrative of wall and ground.

game installation, floor painting, street furniture, spontaneous construction together form a new landscape ©金伟琦

the installation is an artistic continuation and enlargement of the relationship between the gas pipeline and the wall ©金伟琦

▼街道家具开始融入乡村生活,street furniture began to integrate into country life ©金伟琦

▼(左)标牌,对几次重点基础设施工程进行记录,signage, to record several key infrastructure upgrade projects ©金伟琦
(右)在街道家具上安放历史故事,复兴文化,add historical stories’ marks on street furniture, revive culture ©金伟琦


Spatial nodes: stress in overall promotion and carrier of public activities


Under the premise of the overall improvement of the village environment, the architect also set up nodes in important positions, which are also the main carriers of the village public activities in the future.

▼主街景观总平面图,site plan of the main street landscape design ©三文建筑


村标 | Village marker


The village marker, located in the west side of Zaiwan Village, between the health center and the Gallery of the North Henan Folk Residence, can be seen from the national highway. The architect designed the village marker into a group of columns with different heights, which represents the development of Zaiwan Village is booming and rising. On the columns is a chronicle of events of the village, such as the founding of village, school building and other important moments.

▼村标,the village marker ©金伟琦

the village marker records the important nodes of the village’s development ©金伟琦


豫北民居展厅 | The Gallery


The Gallery is transformed from two courtyards. The architect opened the courtyard and reserved three old buildings in the site, as the representatives of the folk residence in 1960s. On this basis, the streamline is re-sorted out and new buildings, entrance porches, corridors and outdoor rest space are added.

▼豫北民居展厅生成图,generative scheme of the Northern Henan dwellings gallery ©三文建筑


The facade of the building is in the language of combination of red brick and black steel plate. The red brick is consistent with the courtyard materials of the 1960s nearby, and the metal plate indicates the contemporaneity. The elevation emphasizes the horizontal lines, which are flat and not noisy, but the plasticity of bricks is used in detail to form changes.

▼豫北民居展厅鸟瞰,the bird view of Gallery of North Henan Folk Residence ©金伟琦

▼展厅临街外立面,street view of the gallery ©金伟琦

▼外立面以红砖和黑色钢板为材料,red bricks and black steel plates as the facade material ©金伟琦

▼展厅外立面细部,the detail of the gallery facade ©金伟琦

▼从院内看入口玄关,entrance porch from the courtyard ©金伟琦


The main entrance is located in the courtyard on the west side, where the audience needs to enter circuitously. The main room and wing-rooms are reserved with proper repair and use as exhibition hall. The main room on the north side in the east courtyard is retained, with a new building added to the south. Its functions are coffee bar, tea room and cultural and creative products display and sale. The old and new buildings are in a state of opposite view and connected by the corridor on the west side. The old buildings keep the original rammed earth while the new buildings are red-bricked, and the traffic space is of black steel plates. The architect intends to make some positions form gaps. On the one hand, the conflict between the old and the new materials is avoided, and on the other hand, the dramatic role of light in space is strengthened.

the gap between the two old houses is the passage to the east courtyard ©金伟琦

▼入口玄关,entrance porch ©金伟琦

overall view of the courtyard, using the height difference of the site to form the fluctuation of the space ©金伟琦

the old and new buildings in the east yard form a confrontation, rammed earth, red bricks and steel plates form a dialogue between materials and the times ©金伟琦

▼东院中的外廊,the outer corridor of the east courtyard ©金伟琦

▼室外休闲区域,outdoor leisure area ©金伟琦

the stairs lead to the roof, responding to the shape of the inverted seat of the local houses ©金伟琦

the roof terrace not only expands the usable space, but also provides a higher perspective view of the building and surroundings ©金伟琦

night view of the courtyard, the facade of the new building facing the courtyard is full-height glass ©金伟琦


In the interior layout, the old buildings are used as exhibition halls, the original space pattern is preserved, and the historical features are properly restored to reproduce the indoor life scenes in Northern Henan. As a leisure and sales function, the new building provides visitors with space for rest and exchange.

keep the interior of the folk house and restore the life scene of the traditional folk house ©金伟琦

the open area in the middle of the building is for the display and sales of cultural and creative products ©金伟琦

▼置有水台,可以为使用者提供咖啡和饮料,the bar can provide coffee and other drinks for the visitors ©金伟琦

▼从新建筑看院落和老民居,look at courtyards and old houses from the new building ©金伟琦


“春暖花开”艺术装置 | The Spring Blossoms


The Spring Blossoms are a landscape art device, which is completed by the original Chinese toon tree in the village. The Chinese toon is located at the corner of the planned L-shaped boutique route, which is the starting point of the landscape of the north-south main street. The meaning of the device represents the beginning of Reform and Opening-up: spring returns to the earth, and everything recovers.

Cedrela Blossoms installation is the starting point of the main street landscape, the acrylic balls in the canopy represents people’s desire to beautify ©金伟琦


“有囍有鱼”广场 | The Square of Double Happiness and Pisces


The Square of Double Happiness and Pisces is located in the middle of the main street, which was originally collective land where villagers planted vegetables. There is a substation and a grocery booth between the vegetable field and the streets. The architect transformed this place into a small square in the village for villagers’ daily leisure use.

▼有囍有鱼广场生成图,generative scheme of the Square of Double Happiness and Pisces ©三文建筑


First, the site is hardened to make it more suitable for the function of square, then a notice board is added at one corner of the square and a rest platform at the other corner. Between the square and the main street, a new convenience service point is built to receive express delivery and small sales department. The original substation in the site could not be relocated. The architect changed the exposed substation facilities into a safer box transformer and incorporated it into the building, which is integrated with the convenience service point. The service point is trapezoidal in plane, with wooden structure and single slope top. The southwest corner of the roof is higher and the northeast corner lower. The architect uses the glazed tiles and facade of the roof to combine the “Double Happiness” and the Pisces patterns, representing the villagers’ good wishes for life.

bird view, the Square of Double Happiness and Pisces becomes public space in the village ©金伟琦

▼有囍有鱼广场鸟瞰,the bird view of the Square of Double Happiness and Pisces ©金伟琦

use a combination of roof tiles and vertical panels to make Double Happiness and Pisces pattern ©金伟琦

the convenience service station viewing from the main street, the transformer station was wrapped inside the building ©金伟琦

▼便民服务站成为孩子们玩耍的道具,the convenience service station becomes pros which children are playing ©金伟琦


Conclusion: a try to provide a sample of space promotion for ordinary villages



Villages like Zaiwan Village exist in quantity in Xiuwu County and even in whole China. They have no special scenery, no historical features, no significant industries, namely just ordinary villages with ordinary people and ordinary life. How to design them is a proposition that every architect engages in rural construction needs to think about.

In Zaiwan Village, the design team was fortunate to find the theme of the Museum of Living Style of the North Henan Folk Residence of the Past 40 Years Since the Reform and Opening-up. On the basis of retaining the original texture, real rural landscape and spontaneous construction traces, the design team connected, enlarged and interpreted the village in the way of architecture, landscape, public art and narration. It is a kind of sneaking and also a kind of ingenuity. I hope it can provide reference for the revitalization of such ordinary villages in China.

▼豫北民居展厅总平面图,site plan of the Northern Henan dwellings gallery ©三文建筑

▼豫北民居展厅平面图,plan of the Northern Henan dwellings gallery ©三文建筑

▼有囍有鱼广场总平面图,site plan of the Square of Double Happiness and Pisces ©三文建筑


▼有囍有鱼广场便民站点剖面图,section of the Square of Double Happiness and Pisces convenience service station ©三文建筑


Location: Seven Xian Town, Shuwu County, Jiaozhu City, Henan Province
Owner: Qixian Town People’s Government of Xiuwu County
Architecture and landscape design: 3andwich Design
Leading architect: He Wei
Project architect: Liu Mingyang
Design team: Chen Long, Meng Xiangting, Wang Ziyi, Liu Yong, Zhao Dongyu(Internship), Wang Chenyu(Internship), Chen Mingxu(Internship)
Resident engineer: Liu Weidong
Partners: Beijing Vage Architectural Planning and Design Institute Co., Ltd., Beijing Hongshang International Design Co., Ltd
Design time: Nov. 2020 – Jan. 2021
Completion time: May 2021
Photo: Jin Weiqi, He Wei

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