Hu Huishan lived the life of an ordinary teenager in Sichuan province, attending middle school, trying her hand at writing, being a devoted daughter. When the Great Sichuan Earthquake struck Sichuan in 2008, Hu Huishan died in the rubble of the school, and might have remained, like her classmates, a statistic.
The architect Liu Jiakun, responsible for some of China’s most thoughtful and responsive projects, met with her parents in the course of his work in the days following the earthquake, and, moved by their loss, decided to memorialize her in a direct way. The result is a simple house he constructed consisting of a single room, matching in size and form the tent shelters used by victims throughout the region. Lit by a single oculus in the ceiling, which looks out onto trees, the unitary space contains remembrances of a teenager’s life, including the room’s bright pink coloration, Hui Huishan’s favorite.
Jiakun has conceived and crafted a powerful statement of a life lived, highly specific to an individual, yet evocative of all the human stories that grew from a single, natural occurance.
Photos courtesy Liu Jaikun