In the west gatehouse of Liantang Village, a group of men between the ages of 60 and 90 sat down with cigarettes and watched passersby outside. They were right here and worked here, watching time flies. You can chat with them, search for history, appreciate traditional local crafts, or try yourselves to enjoy the fun of picking lotus.
▼莲塘村改造前现状，liantang village before renovation
Liantang Village in Luogang District has a long history of more than 700 years. It is the residential village of Chen (the most popular surname in South China）who was removed from Zhuji Lane. Many historical buildings are still in the village, such as Zhennan Building at the entrance of the village, Zhenbei Building at the end of the village (both buildings are used for theft prevention, both destroyed, only foundations left), Chen Yan’s tomb at the east, who was one of the first ancestor of Chen moved to Guangdong in the Song Dynasty; Shisi Chen Ancestral Hall, Hongyou Family School, Luozu Family School, Xiaotang Family School, Jichang Bookstore and several ancient shops built in the Qing Dynasty; 5 ancient lanes, Ronghuali, Renheli, Zhongheli, Ping’anli, Chang’anli, historical buildings with outstanding Lingnan style, an ancient banyan tree and an ancient village of nearly 20,000 square meters.
▼村内历史建筑，historical buildings in the village
Shisi Chen Ancestral Hall was built in the Qing Dynasty during the reign of Emperor Guangxu, with history comparable to the famous Chen Clan Academy, Guangzhou. “In a vast culture arena, people are just chesses; the earth and sky of the courtyard are the chessboard of history and time. ” Standing in the courtyard of the ancestral hall, you can feel the vicissitudes of hundreds of years. Villagers can also set up a stage in the ancestral hall, organize various activities such as folklore performances, cruises and festivals.
▼祠堂广场，the ancestral hall square
Liantang Village was built around Xuanwu Mountain in comb style layout, with negative yin and positive yang. The ancestral hall sets back against Xuanwu Mountain, with a pond in front. The Xuanwu Mountain is connected with Anshan Mountain as the axis of the corridor, with the left and right sides facing each other. Liantang villagers have never arbitrarily cut down their “backer” – grass and trees of Xuanwu Mountain for hundreds of years; the open space at the entrance of the ancestral hall has not been occupied by houses; the lotus pond surrounding the village has not been filled; houses have not been built in the direction of the axis of the ancestral hall… It shows sincerely respect for the land and awe of the landscape.
▼时四陈公祠，Shisi Chen Ancestral Hall
Diversified Village Combined with Traditional Features and Contemporary Lifestyle
In view of the gradual decline of the current village environment, the project adheres to the concept of “protective development, regional innovation”, that is, the priority of reconstruction is to protect the environment featuring historical characteristics and natural spatial layout with beautiful sceneries. Old houses reconstructed as the old are a tribute to the history, and the original country life is the preservation of tradition. Meanwhile, in the process of exploring and inheriting local cultures, we use modern design languages and aesthetic needs to interpret local cultures, creating a new landscape with tradition and partial innovations.
▼环绕村庄的莲花塘， the lotus pond surrounding the village
▼莲花塘周边景观概览，the landscape around the lotus pond
For design technique, it obeys following principles: local customs, traditional elements, modern techniques and handicraft techniques. For design content, it promotes traditional cultures and sets up stage in the ancestral hall so as to organize activities such as folklore performances, cruises and festivals; highlights local traditional characteristics of the village by deeply exploring cultural connotations to add a humanistic atmosphere to the village, such as handicrafts, lotus picking, festival customs, ancestral hall. For engineering design, it makes research and innovation on recycling and utilization of old materials, stone arch bridge piling and water purification measures of lotus ponds to achieve brilliant rural life in a high-quality natural environment.
▼亲水平台，platform by the side of the pond
▼通向岸边的阶梯，steps to the shore
▼墙体砖砌细部，wall masonary details
▼连接莲塘两侧的石桥，stone bridge connecting both side of the pond
▼大榕树下的石桥，stone bridge under the big banyan tree
The Preservation of Characteristics of Traditional Lingnan Water Village
The original structure of Liantang Village has been preserved to the maximum extent so as to be restored appropriately; ancient stage, laundry table, blue brick and stone low walls have been built to recall the scene of the ancient village; ancient stone bridge with Lingnan characteristics has been built with modern stone hanging technology; original bricks, tiles, grasses, trees, flagpoles, stone monuments, stone slabs and stone benches have been used to make them vigorous; trees, grasses and flowers have been planted, a pond of lotuses are aromas; while an ancient banyan tree has been preserved to witness the history of the village. The most profound is how to tell the story of the village.
▼修复后的祠堂广场，the ancestral hall square after renovation
The village features good natural layout of Feng Shui. The design explores natural resources and spirits of space, protects precious landscape of the village, provides villagers with a stage to promote the protection and development of the natural and cultural rural heritage; enables tourists to enjoy rural life and natural scenery that can effectively convey the significance of protecting traditional culture and natural resources; and builds a social collective consciousness that can be coordinated and developed.
▼在小水池处远望祠堂广场，looking far from the pool to the ancestral hall square after renovation
Bricks and tiles, earthly life: flowers and grass, beautiful lotus pond. Wandering in the village, you can see butterflies looming in the flowers, branches full of longan fruits, or soft sunshine lightly decorated with ancient masonry alleys; or occasionally raining in the countryside. This is where the story takes place.
▼在祠堂广场前追赶、玩耍的小朋友们，children chasing and playing in front of ancestral hall square
▼两个小女孩蹲在小水池旁捉虫子，Two little girls kneeling beside the small pool
The reconstruction project of the famous Liantang village, Luogang District, Guangzhou is the first demonstration site to implement the construction of “Beautiful Village” (one of the 14 municipal demonstration sites) and reconstruction of the “Three Olds”. After completed, it has won praises from all walks of life, recognition by local villagers, high evaluations by provincial and municipal leaders after observations. It has won “Silver Award for the 2nd Planning and Architectural Design with Lingnan Characteristics in Guangdong “, ” Idea-King Award for Annual Top 10 Landscape Design Awards 2014 · Urban Planning and Design” and “1st Place of Meiju Prize – Resort Design”.
Project: The Protection and Reconstruction Planning Design for Liantang Village, Guangzhou
Location: Jiulong Town, Huangpu District, Guangzhou, Guangdong
Site Area: 55000 m2
Design: Palm Design Co., Ltd.
Chief Designer: Wenying Zhang
Design Director: Xingjun Xiao
Technical Director: Wenye Huang
Design Team: Chunyan Su, Yiyi Zheng, Mingqian He, Kaifeng Liang, Jinyi Feng, Liling Liang, Lele Chen