The Qinchang Village Town Hall
- Studio 10
- 中国河南省焦作市修武县城关镇秦厂村, Jiaozuo, China
- Cristina Moreno Cabello, Jiaying Huang, Zixia Huang, Chunhui Mo, Xin Zheng, Feifei Chen(Project Assistant), Jiaxiao Bao(Project Assistant), Ming Tang(Project Assistant), Ruoxi Jia(Intern), Shi Zhou(Director)
The Qinchang Village Town hall is located directly to the east of the Qinchang Village CPC Community Center in Xiuwu County, Jiaozuo, Henan Province. It is the second phase of the Qinchang Village CPC Center Complex. While Phase I on the west side accommodates mostly non-profit community services programs and ceremonial spaces, the east side focuses on the introduction of small local businesses as well as cultural and recreational programs, including a store selling local farm produce and handicrafts souvenirs, a small café, a restaurant, a gallery as well as a children’s library. The space here is both a medium and a “generator” to create potential employment and start-up business opportunities for the villagers, exploring an “innovative and sustainable" model of the economic and cultural revitalization of the rural communities.
The layout on the east side has adopted the courtyard-centered configuration strategy from the west. However, opposite to the symmetrical and ceremonial layout of the west plot, the ambiance of the Town Hall on the east side was meant to be more intimate, earthly, and effortless. The massing of the complex is broken up into three one/two-story small-scale volumes, which follows an asymmetrical layout and are set out at the three sides of the site to define the street interface. The central courtyard naturally formed by these three individual buildings interacts with the west side cloister-style one, continuing and reinforcing the porosity and accessibility from the west: openings in-between all of the individual buildings allows villagers to access or pass-through the site conveniently. The central multi-functional open space also provides villagers of all ages with a place for social and recreational activities, which complements, balances, and enriches the tranquil, ceremonial ambience of the West Courtyard.
The single-story restaurant building of the largest massing is located at the southeast corner of the campus, remaining closest to the village main street. Normally it is the village canteen that serves both villagers as well as tourists, while on special occasions, it can host large-scale events such as traditional wedding and birthday banquets. The two-story building on the east side has a small gallery that opens up to both the street side and the courtyard, a library/reading room where children can scan QR code through the smart system to borrow books, as well as a café where tourists/villagers can take a break or hang out. The bar-shaped single-story building on the north is a store for showcasing and selling local farm produce as well as handicrafts made by villagers, while directly at the south façade of the building and facing the courtyard, a covered arched porch with benches can serve both as spectator seating area for basketball games as well as be transformed into a natural stage backdrop for large-scale outdoor public events held in the courtyard.
When surveying in Xiuwu, we found that all public basketball courts, regardless of their conditions, were highly appealing to villagers, especially teenagers; in fact, the basketball courts in the villages are almost always occupied except for during extreme weathers. Therefore, we suggested to the client to add the basketball court in the courtyard at early stage of design. Even before final project completion, the basketball court has become extremely popular among young villagers. The benches in the arched porch as well as the rooftops of the western archway and eastern gallery building naturally form spectator areas, providing vantage points for villagers to watch basketball games. In addition, this basketball court painted with pattern created by the graphic designer has also become one of the most important outdoor public gathering and event spaces in the village. In addition to hosting wedding and birthday ceremonies, it can also be transformed into spill out space for the restaurant, accommodating traditional outdoor wedding and birthday banquets for the seniors, where all villagers can dine at the same time.
The building adopts cast-in-place concrete structure. Corresponding to the CPC Community center on the west side, the Qinchang Village Town Hall has also played with the geometry and motif of Arches, which is typical component in the local traditional semi-underground dwellings. Based on the geometric prototype and modules previously set up in the west side, arches has been further abstracted and evolved from planar ones into vaults, catering to various spatial and programmatic needs of the Town Hall.