House of Dreams
Zhoushan village, China
image: Kuo Jze Yi | © all rights reserved
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Location:
Zhoushan village, China
Category:
meeting place
Phase:
in use
Updated:
7 August 2021
House of Dreams is an innovative revitalization of a cave area in Zhoushan. The name derives from the villagers collective memories due to the fact the caves were their childhood homes. The area was transformed into a Rural Development facility involving 19 caves, 3 courtyards and new amenity buildings.  The retired villagers with no construction experience built many parts of the project with recycled construction and household waste materials. 
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Introduction
Since 2002 Liang Jun, founder of Zhoushan Village Community Group, worked on villager-led change. This evolved an approach to village resilience and stimulated villagers skills. Since 2018, In-situ Project contributed architectural design and community development concepts initiating local know-how and self-build capacity resulting in the House of Dreams. Participatory construction enabled local solutions over precise design and a bottom-up approach. The social-technical innovation method led to new techniques based on local abilities and resources. Community skill development and the experimental use of construction waste material (also waste bottles, plastics, household objects) involved steps of collection, design and construction. This reduced building costs, enabling unskilled villagers to became part of the construction process. Material inventiveness therefore creates a unique local architectural complex. The incorporation of waste materials in walls and surfaces enabled the villagers to tell stories and to put meaning into the surfaces of the project. As well contributing to sustainable practices by finding uses for waste that would otherwise go into landfill. In general the project had 3 architectural aims:  1. Reconstruction of the caves in diverse ways and types. 2. Recovery of traditions and skills lost by the village. 3. Restoration of collective memories of the villagers in the House of Dreams. 4. Enhancing sustainable development in the region.
House of Dreams drone view

image: Insitu Project | © all rights reserved
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Impact
The unique design approach derives from the collective inputs of more than 80 community people involved in the construction of the project in the re-use of discarded and waste household and construction materials. This process has become a beacon for the community fostering community pride and cohesion. In terms of wider visions of sustainable practices the project offers other rural communities an alternative model. Four sustainability principles were employed in the House of Dreams. 1. Reconstruction of existing caves lining of all caves with recycled construction materials to prevent excess humidity; and site planning principles to off-set new constructions in order to maximise solar gain for the south facing caves. 2. Recycled construction waste was used to provide material for reconstruction; stage 1, villagers donated building materials they stored for decades. Villager participation in construction of the allowed stories to become patterns in courtyard spaces. Stage 2 amenity block and dining hall walls and on House of Dreams entrance wall show various experimental masonry techniques, from mixed material to building with wastes and eco-brick. 3. Amenities and waste management three new amenity blocks included construction of a communal septic tank that feeds a fruit orchard to avoid water stream pollution.  4. Incorporation of nature: the growing ecological awareness resulted in the incorporation of nature: the amenities building was constructed to retain all trees, incorporating holes for trees in the roof structure.
sdgs
Core team
Liang Jun and the Zhoushan Village Community Group  began working with Insitu Project who was responsible for the architecture and overall layout, and community participatory design process in 2018. Project credits: Architects: Insitu Project; Kuo Jze Yi, Peter Hasdell, with Zhou Zi Hau, An Tian Jian, Lee Chung Bun, Liu Min Hau. Project Team: Community Work: Liang Jun, Ou Yang Xiu Zhen, Dong Lin, Jin Dou Dou. Solidarity Economy: Ku Hok Bun. Building Team: Yi Rong Liang, Zhou Hai Shan, Chen Guo Bin, Zhou Bao Liang, Wang Zhen Shan, Wang Zhong Shuan, Wang Jin Ping, Zhou Yin Mu, Wang Dong Biao, Sun Huan Ling. Communal Team: Building Management: Feng Rui Fen, Wu Huai Zhen, Jing Qiu Feng, Hao Yu Zhi. Community Association: Zhou Xi Chuan, Jing Xiu Fang, Zhou Xi En. Material Donation Representative: Yi Fang, Zhou Zi Yun. Other Support: Zhoushan Village Party Branch Committee & Zhoushan Village Committee. Interior Decoration Evelyna Liang Yi Hu. Collaborators Universities: Department of Applied Social Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, School of Design, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Shenzhen University. Volunteers: Wu Jun Ping, Keita Tajima, Tan Min, Li Dong Min, Aubrey Au, Chelsea Chan. Funding: The Li & Fung China Social Policy Research Fund, Chan Cheung Mun Chung Charitable Fund
Community paving workshop

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Image gallery
Liang Jun and Zhoushan Community group

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House of Dreams courtyard

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House of Dreams middle courtyard

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House of Dreams typical cave

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House of Dreams cave interior

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House of Dreams middle courtyard view

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House of Dreams community dining hall

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House of Dreams dining hall interior

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House of Dreams courtyard paving construction

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House of Dreams entry wall

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House of Dreams amenities block under construction

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House of Dreams night view by drone

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House of Dreams construction process with waste materials

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House of Dreams amenities block detail

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House of Dreams amenities block

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House of Dreams planning meeting

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House of Dreams connecting passageway

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House of Dreams stage 1 drone view

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House of Dreams stage 1 opening event

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House of Dreams Zhoushan village community group in front of entry wall

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Technical drawings
House of Dreams upper level plan

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House of Dreams lower level plan

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House of Dreams long section

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House of Dreams short section

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Help bring our project to life!

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Help bring our project to life!
Where are we now
The aim for House of Dreams is two further stages: stage 3 for a community hall and workspace for 100 people which is has already been designed and is in need of funding; for construction starting in September 2021 and; stage 4 which will be for an rural development 'open' school for building and experiementing bottom-up construction processes and techniques will propose a large workshop and is seeking seed funding to start the design process (in 2022)
An indication of our team’s capacity:
20% funding already raised
80% expertise already found
40% materials / equipment already found
80% builders already found
Finance: € 24,700
The House of Dreams is an innovative community driven project that addresses a number of different concerns (poverty, aging, skill decline) in rural China in very sustainable ways. Funding supports construction materials and service provision and a limited number of rural builders
  • Materials
10,000
  • Local Builders
7,500
  • Service Provision
5,000
  • Equipment hire
2,200
Help bring our project to life!
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