When architect John Lin and his students from the University of Hong Kong first visited Shijia village in the province of Shaanxi, China, villagers had a list of requests for projects. But Lin wanted to create something that “empowered them to solve problems on their own,” he wrote in a statement. He and his students observed that rural Chinese villages were changing dramatically as people fled to urban centers. And urban ideas were making their way back to the villages: traditional mud houses were being torn down in favor of less economical and sustainable concrete and brick structures built by outsourced labor.
The 4,100-square-foot, one-story house was completed in March 2012. Its concrete-column structure and mud-brick walls are surrounded by a perforated brick screen for daylight and ventilation.