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Post-earthquake Reconstruction
Demonstration Project of Guangming Village


Guangming Village, Longtoushan Town, Ludian County, Zhaotong City, Yunnan Province, China

Project Description:

Following the Ludian earthquake in 2014, most of the local buildings in Guangming were destroyed. To improve the safety, quality, and dignity of the living environment without adding substantial environmental load and cost, One University One Village (1U1V) team at The Chinese University of Hong Kong innovated the local traditional rammed earth technology with “high science and low technology” strategy. After repeated tests, they completed a 148sqm two-storey, new, rammed-earth prototype house for an aged couple in four months, using local material and with the help of local workers. Its construction cost was 940 HKD/sqm. The house is affordable and sturdy, as it stood undamaged when two subsequent earthquakes hit.

The project exemplified in the addressing of profound problems facing ordinary people and re-use of traditional material and construction methods through the “3L“ (local technology, local materials, and local labor) principle but with the addition of new technology -combining ancient wisdom with modern know-how. The building design is simple and easy to implement based on the ability of villagers. The project and the holistic strategy behind it creatively demonstrated a sustainable development strategy of poor rural areas. It also received the top award of World Building of the Year 2017 at the World Architecture Festival. In 2020, the project received HKIA Medal of the Year Outside Hong Kong and Special Architectural Award –Social Innovation.

Description how the project contributes with humanity:

The project reinvented the traditional building technology, providing villagers with a safe, economical, comfortable, and sustainable reconstruction strategy that they could afford, own, and pass on to their children.

After completion of this demonstration project, 1U1V team further develop an anti-seismic earth building system and aim to empower and uplift local people (including female) through collaboration, training, and education to develop new skills so that they can be self-sufficient and address and adapt to the challenges of tomorrow by themselves. From a social perspective, it is a good opportunity for local villagers to recognize and reaffirm the historical and cultural value of traditional rammed earth buildings which can be retained and reformulated as a safe, inexpensive and eco-friendly residence with good seismic and thermal performance, in which they are proud and happy to live. Economically, local villagers who participated in the construction can now earn their livelihood through their newly acquired technological skills and the experience gained from working for such rammed earth building projects nearby and help other in need whenever necessary. More importantly, the lower construction cost allows them to live debt-free, and the low operation cost can even help them save money for other necessities to improve their living conditions.

This integrated solution not only strive for research excellence with purpose and responsibility, but also embraces social responsibility for sustainable development in aligning with several United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

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