Aiming to combine rural revitalisation and cultural context

LUO Studio created a 'closed' corridor space on a wooden bridge in the resort of Jiangmen, which is different from other bridges. Due to the unique tidal flat landform, Gulou, in Jiangmen City, established the tradition of making use of the water system to dig ponds and form mounds for fishing and farming. With rapid urbanization in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, many local villagers have abandoned the traditional fishing lifestyle in favor of living a more urban life. For this reason, water villages in which people make a living by fishing have been gradually disappearing.

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Overall view of bridge and fishing boat
Photo credit: Jin Weiqi

Gulou Waterfront is an eco-cultural tourism resort developed by OCT in the context of rural revitalization, aiming to combine rural development with the cultural background of local villages on the premise of preserving the unique spatial fabrics featuring mounds and ponds. The resort maintains the form of the basic local water system, while organically integrating nature education, parent-child recreation, and fishing & husbandry activities.

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West entrance at dusk
Photo credit: Jin Weiqi
Photo credit: Jin Weiqi

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View of the east platform from the middle area
Photo credit: Jin Weiqi

Arched wooden bridge

During the fishing civilization period, roads were poorly developed, so water systems became key routes of transportation and logistics. Bridges needed to be walkable, while also ensuring more space for boats to pass through underneath, so traditional bridge construction techniques in China adopted "arches" to create space. These arches accommodated the passage of boats under bridges, and also enhanced the effectiveness of the structures. Due to the abundance of woods, Southern China has traditionally used timber to build bridges. To differentiate it from urban constructions, and to revitalize traditional rural culture, LUO studio adopted natural wooden materials to construct an arched bridge. To enable boats of various sizes to smoothly pass under the bridge, the load-bearing platform at the bottom of the arch, which is 1.35m higher than the normal water level, combined with the 2.8m arched structure, forms a space more than 4m higher than the normal water level.

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Rowing fisherman
Photo credit: Jin Weiqi

Set covered corridor on the bridge

LUO studio created a relatively "closed" corridor space on the timber bridge, which is different from other open landscape bridges in the resort. The goal was to accentuate the transition from the "practical" commercial street area to the relatively "dreamy" children's recreation area, allowing visitors to experience a sort of ceremonial moving process. Constructing a covered corridor on bridges is an old tradition dating back to the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period. The initial intention was to strengthen the bridge structure, resist rain and moisture, keep the wood dry, and prevent it from corrosion.

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Entrance on the west side
Photo credit: Jin Weiqi

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Pedestrian on the bridge corridor
Photo credit: Jin Weiq

Industrialization and handwork

The materials utilized were manufactured and processed by factories based on industrialization standards, and all the necessary timber and metal components were treated by modern industrial technology and methods. During the installation and construction, only the three main beams were hoisted by large machinery. All other follow-up construction steps were fully adaptable and transportable through the hands of the workers in response to the local context. The whole construction process not only effectively harmonized with the surrounding construction sites and took advantage of efficient industrialized methods, but also conveyed rural warmth as well as the "localization" of construction.

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Upward view of the bridge
Photo credit: Jin Weiqi

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Entrance details
Photo credit: Jin Weiqi

About LUO studio

LUO studio pays attention to sustainable construction, and advocates for minimal material usage to create more "universal" space. The firm applies natural materials to construction, studies and designs wooden buildings that adopt prefabricated steel and wood structures, and works to build a connection with Oriental traditional timber constructions through the use of local techniques. LUO explores creative ways to solve some social problems, such as the approaches of reusing temporary buildings to the maximum extent possible. In addition to conventional projects, the firm is committed to improving activity and learning spaces for children in recessed areas, and focusing on the innovative reuse of abandoned spaces and materials in urban and rural areas. Moreover, they work to promote the construction of ecological farms and communities based on the "Permaculture" concept, and engage in and initiate workshops on sustainable construction.


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