Material Authenticity:
Searching for the Meaning of Authenticity through Wood
in Dong Minority Villages, China

Under the era of the image, architectural designs are gravitating toward a scenographic inclination with blind worship of foreign architectural styles, while rampant and largely unreflective importation of Western ideas is ubiquitous to new constructions in many rural territories in China. In such circumstances, can the returning to foundations and giving prominence to materials become a possible way to go against this phenomenon?

In today’s China, the use of wood in construction has declined drastically as a result of the emergence of modern architectural styles that promote the use of mass-produced components made of steel, glass, and concrete etc., often to achieve a sense of universal aesthetics. Wood is therefore increasingly marginalized as a low-cost, low-quality building material only utilized by the rural population. As a result, the broad range of responsibilities that the carpenter had previously held as the master builder on the job-site has also diminished. In order to lift the importance of timber industry in the Dong villages among the southern China wood markets, it is important to take advantage of the local vernacular architecture knowledge and traditions of high-quality craftsmanship, which, on one hand, will be able to re-establish wood as a material that could successfully meet the stringent requirements imposed on buildings today. Thus, offering an alternative to different types of wood construction is a crucial strategy.

To read the complete article, register your details above
to be notified once the revamped Construction Plus App is ready!

Project Name

School of Carpentry

Hunan, China
Site Area

Gross Floor Area

Building Height

3 storeys / 15m height
Post Graduate / School

The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Student Name

Beryl Wong

Peter W. Ferretto