2012 Skyscraper Competition
Yiting Shen, Nanjue Wang, Ji Xia, Zihan Wang
Industrialization and mining are destroying China’s natural settings, especially mountains, which are excavated to the point of destruction in man’s search for minerals. These processes don’t just devistate regions’ ecologies; they also displace whole populations of people, separating them from their homes and also their means of living, as many in these rural areas work as farmers. The “Mountain Band-Aid” project seeks to simultaneously restore the displaced Hmong mountain people to their homes and work as it restores the mountain ecology of the Yunnan mountain range.
This is achieved with a two-layer construction project. The outer layer is a skyscraper that is built into and stretched across the mountain. By building the structure into, and as part of, the mountain, the skyscraper helps the Hmong people recover their original lifestyle. It is organized internally by the villagers to replicate the traditional village design they utilized before they were displaced. The building’s placement on the mountain means that its height is mainly determined by the height of the mountain. The design as a whole is one of “dual recovery:” the Hmong people living on the damaged mountain can keep the unique organization of space in their village, recreating it within the skyscraper, but they won’t be contributing to the mountain’s degradation. Instead, they help the mountain’s environmental restoration by recycling domestic water for mountain irrigation. It is this irrigation system that comprises the project’s inner layer: an irrigation system is constructed to stabilize the mountain’s soil and grow plants.
The skyscraper is constructed in the traditional Chinese Southern building style known as Chuan Dou. Small residential blocks are used as the framework: The blocks are freely organized as they were in the original village, but the framework controls this organization of blocks into different floors, acting as the contour line in traditional Hmong village.