Shuiheli Art Institute

Axonometric drawing showing one building and connecting bridges

by Sam Naylor (MAUD '21)

This project seeks to test out the aspirations of a distributed model of rural development in the region of Duanfen, China. It uses as a catalyst a proposed extension campus for the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts. The project blends a deep reading of the site through traditional depictions of the countryside with more contemporary methods in painting and photography.

The specific proposal is a set of three new typological urban forms which seek to act on the landscape territory, village mat, and community node. Each element addresses a different need for both the visiting scholars and the local population. These elements are arranged on site in a distributed and non-hierarchical fashion in order to reinforce a common framework and leverage adjacencies with existing moments. A set of towers act as painting studios and water infrastructure. A new housing strategy opens up voids within the village whilst providing modern amenities. And a series of new academic forms establish new collective spaces for all community members. The forms all work to create landscapes through their openings and geometry, while referencing existing typologies.

The project is told narratively from the point of view of Alice, a new professor at the school. By telling her story through these elements I sought to reinforce the conflicting and sometimes contradictory aspects of rural revitalization. Ultimately, our hero, and the project, are situated in direct conversation and conflict with the local people, fabric, and landscape—establishing a new hybrid paradigm for a traditionally cosmopolitan collective.