Eco-friendly architecture helps lift Chinese village out of poverty

Over the recent decades, the Miao community in the traditional Chinese village of Longtang in southwest China has experienced an economic decline due to its shrinking population. A recently completed architecture project aims to revitalize the area by blending sustainability with local traditions.

The eco-sensitive redevelopment project, led by innovative design firm gad · line+ studio, aims to help the rural village — home to beautiful tea terraces — attract tourists and thus provide a new source of revenue.

Commissioned by the Youcheng Foundation of the State Council Poverty Alleviation Office, the “targeted poverty alleviation” initiative includes 2,400 square meters of new construction and landscape beautification to transform the rural Longtang village into a cultural destination with guesthouses, a new theater, and other amenities.

To minimize the environmental impact of the project, the developers used prefabricated construction, locally sourced natural materials, and solar panels. Plus, to celebrate and preserve the local culture, the architects renovated 750 square meters of existing architecture and added 1,650 square meters of new construction which resembles the village’s traditional stilt buildings.

What’s more, to ensure that future construction and renovation projects don’t erode the village’s history, the architects created a series of reconstruction demonstration projects to show local inhabitants how locally sourced and low-cost materials can be used to beautifully and efficiently improve the community.

With its sustainable upgrade, the village is expected to experience a tourism boom and hopefully retain more residents with new local economic prospects.

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