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TIANBA VILLAGE WORKSHOP

Tianba, Guizhou, China
2020

“With the celebration of powerful digital modeling tools, paradoxically, architectural design education and practice became too abstract. Rotating a 3D model from the bird view, students do not get any feeling of scale, material, an actual feeling of the building. A polygon object is not a real mass. As a result, most of projects are not expressions of an architect’s thought and experience, but poor imitations of already existing designs.


Experience coming from your own hands is the strongest one. You can watch hundred tutorials, and forget everything - or do the action once and remember it for your whole life.

In Tianba, we came back to the original type of master workshop. Students, teachers and local workers create the space together. Using bamboo to figure out the truss structure, bending steel pole to the parabolic arch, piling. Architecture is collective, experimental, intuitive, alive, Improvisational.


In Taliesin, the legendary architecture school of Frank Lloyd Wright, as a course assignment, students make shelters themselves to live there. This is how they really get the understanding of what does it mean to be an architect. The warm community they form, the culture, the pride for the profession is what they carry throughout their lives.

In Tianba, we also hoped to open the potential of each student through improvisation, to discover their inner genius. Building a pavilion or bridge, passing through collective brainstorming, detail refinement and actual construction, empowers like no other studio class. It lets students know that if they really want to do something - it is possible.


Today, in a rapidly changing world, when there is a lot of sensitive decisions to be made, to be present and connected is the most important asset for a designer. To know the community and to sense the landscape. To feel the flexibility of bamboo and strength of a stone. To be inspired and to inspire.


To be there.

To learn by doing.”