On May 12, 2008, a 7.9-magnitude earthquake rocked the Sichuan Province in Western China, killing 68,000 people. The quake also toppled homes and public buildings that were supposed to withstand such disasters after the devastating 1976 Tangshan earthquake. The Qiang community, an ethnic group in the northwestern part of the province, was one of the hardest hit. In Yangliu Village, many of the houses were destroyed. Others were in the path of a possible landslide. Villagers lived in tents.

By September 2009, Taiwanese architect Hsieh Ying-Chun had helped the agricultural village construct 56 new homes for 350 people. Hsieh runs the 30-person firm Atelier-3 in Sun Moon Lake, Taiwan, and has dedicated his practice to disaster-relief architecture since the 1999 earthquake in Taiwan. In 2011 he was awarded the Curry Stone Design Prize.

Using lightweight steel framing, locally sourced stone, reinforced concrete, and wood, Hsieh taught Yangliu villagers how to assemble homes that are stronger than before. The 3,000-square-foot, three-story dwellings employ similar floor plans: kitchens and bedrooms for elderly relatives on the ground floor, living space and bedrooms on the second floor, and more bedrooms on the third.

Hsieh's style is the vernacular: he adapts local design and leans on the expertise of area craftspeople but helps them reduce inefficient techniques and the use of hard-to-source materials. His adobe-walled house in China's Hebei Province, for example, looks nothing like his Tibetan herder settlement housing, which preserved local woodworking techniques. For people whose homes have been destroyed, this reliance on familiar materials and designs is comforting. He is currently at work on reconstruction projects in Taiwan related to the August 2009 Typhoon Morakot.


Client: undisclosed

Design Architect
Robert Grace
Linus Gruszewski
Sarah de Teliga
Robert Grace Architecture
Paris / London
+447909 715 910

Project Architect/ Architect of record
Studio RAN
Tony Loizou

Richard HInd
Patrick Cusack

Tony Loizou
2nd Floor Studio
49 Brooke Road
London N16 7RA
020 8806 6558
07957 356 261

Structural engineer
Andy Illsley

Hazel Gillet

Form SD
Structural Design
First Floor
82 Clerkenwell Road
020 8806 6558
07957 356 261

Glazing Engineer
Philip Wilson

Gennady Vasilchenko
Malishev Wilson
49 Kinsway Place, Sans Walk, London EC1R 0LU
Mobile: +447971 532 989
Work: +4420 7970 6020

Main contractor
Chris Walker
Parr Walker & Associates
Easter Park
Stonehouse, Gloucestershire
GL10 3UL
Mobile: 07973 671 944
Work: 01453 860 200

Glazing contractor
John Hodgson
mark Leddra
Ken Anderson

F.A.Firman (Harold Wood) Ltd
19 Bates Road
Harold Wood
United Kingdom

Telephone: +44(0)1708 374534
Fax: +44(0)1708 340511

Jesper Ray
and Mel Yates



Exterior Cladding:
Reinforced Concrete internal walls

Cotswald stone external clad walls

York stone external paving

Glass Roof and roof structure

Reinforced Concrete structure for Garden room

Aluminium rain screen for the roof of the Garden Room

Integrated structurally framed vertical Glazing panels

Interior Finishes:
Dinesen Oak Floors