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Combination of Vernacular and Modern Building Materials and Construction Methods in Ningbo Museum,

Yizhou China to Achieve Sustainable Design Features.

Table of Contents

Page

Abstract.......................................................................................................................... 2
1.0

Introduction........................................................................................................

1.1

Overview of Ningbo Museum3

1.2

Research Question.4

2.0

Materials Used...................................................................................................

2.1

Vernacular Chinese Architecture Materials...................................................5

2.2

Ningbo Museum Materials............................................................................8

3.0

Construction Methods Used...............................................................................

3.1

Vernacular Chinese Architecture Construction Method...............................11

3.2

Ningbo Museum Construction Method.......................................................13

4.0

Sustainable Design Concept..............................................................................

4.1

Achieving Renewable Design Concept......................................................16

4.2

Achieving Low Cost Design Concept.........................................................17

4.3

Achieving Innovative Design Concept........................................................18

5.0 Conclusion..........................................................................................................19
6.0 References......................................................................................................... 20

ARC 2213/2234 Asian Architecture

Combination of Vernacular and Modern Building Materials and Construction Methods in Ningbo Museum,
Yizhou China to Achieve Sustainable Design Features.

Abstract
The purpose of doing a study of the combination of vernacular and modern building
materials and construction methods in Ningbo Museum, Yizhou China to achieve sustainable
design features is to identify the difference and at the same time using both advantages to
counter the disadvantages and create a perfect design.
China has always been a country with a very long history of architecture, thus choosing the right
materials to design a building is very crucial. By finding out the building materials of both the
vernacular and modern Chinese architecture, we can find out how Ningbo Museum will be able to
achieve renewable design, and at the same time achieving both low cost design and innovative
design in terms of the material chose.
In assisting the validation of research, literature reviews based on various sources regarding
vernacular Chinese houses and modern Chinese architecture were conducted to enhance the
process. Of all the architecture and buildings located in China, the pit houses built beside The
Yellow River during the Hwang Ho civilization, the Fujian Red Brick House in Quanzhou and the
Wa Pan technique truly show the architectural style and methods during their own respective era.
In conclusion, materials used in both vernacular buildings and modern buildings have their own
pros and cons. By combining all the advantages of the materials together, sustainability design
can be achieved even in the modern world, and this will be an innovation not just to the modern
world, but also to the coming future.

ARC 2213/2234 Asian Architecture

Combination of Vernacular and Modern Building Materials and Construction Methods in Ningbo Museum,
Yizhou China to Achieve Sustainable Design Features.

1.0 Introduction
1.1 Overview of Ningbo Museum, Yizhou China

The Ningbo Museum is an important landmark of Ningbo Yizhou China, a land


full of history, culture and custom. Ningbo Museum was done in 2008 by the famous
architect Wang Shu, winning the Lu Ban Prize for this building.
The design concept of Ningbo Museum is to remind the city people about the
beauty of Ningbos olden days. Where there were mountains and sea bringing
everyone together, starting this civilization. Therefore the design of Ningbo Museum is
like a huge mountain sitting quietly in the middle of the Ningbo city. The special of this
architecture is the material and the construction technique where Wang Shu had used
back Vernacular Chinese Architecture at the same time combining the essence of the
modern architecture. Making Ningbo Museum stands out from other architecture in this
modern era.
This research paper is conducted about Ningbo Museum, Yizhou focusing on the
relationship between vernacular Chinese architectures and modern architectures
building materials and techniques. Thus the research topic is, Combination of
Vernacular and Modern Building Materials and Construction Methods in Ningbo
Museum, Yizhou China to Achieve Sustainable Design Features.

ARC 2213/2234 Asian Architecture

Combination of Vernacular and Modern Building Materials and Construction Methods in Ningbo Museum,
Yizhou China to Achieve Sustainable Design Features.

1.2 Research Questions


This case study paper will investigate on the building materials and construction
methods of vernacular Chinese architecture and modern architecture based on the
following questions:

Question 1: What are the similarities between building materials used in Vernacular
Chinese Architecture and Modern Architecture, Ningbo Museum?
Question 2: What are the similarities between construction methods used in Vernacular
Chinese Architecture and Modern Architecture, Ningbo Museum?
Question 3: How does Ningbo Museum achieve renewable design in term of material
used?
Question 4: How does Ningbo Museum achieve low cost design in term of material
used?
Question 5: How does Ningbo Museum achieve innovative design in term of material
used?

ARC 2213/2234 Asian Architecture

Combination of Vernacular and Modern Building Materials and Construction Methods in Ningbo Museum,
Yizhou China to Achieve Sustainable Design Features.

2.0 Materials Used


2.1 Vernacular Chinese Architecture Materials
2.1.1 Timber & Mud

Just like any other civilization, Hwang Ho civilization started out from the river.
The water is a humans main source of living where both protein and water source are
from the river. Human started out hiding in the cave for shelter and protection but
slowly realizing a cave is just a temporary shelter human starts to build their own
shelter - building.
At the very beginning, human used whatever materials they could simply pick
up from the surrounding. Timber can be simply pluck down from trees and mud are
everywhere on the ground so they started out with these two materials. Timber is a
material which is strong, easily found and easy to work with. But with the limited
knowledge during that time, timbers are only used for building structures. They needed
something to wrap the whole building up, so mud was their choice. The characteristic of
mud is, it is shape-able, easy to work with, easy to found, and also giving the building
insulation from the cold weather outside. With the timber and mud material, the pit
house was produced. Timber as the pit houses structure and mud as the wrap of the
pit house.

ARC 2213/2234 Asian Architecture

Combination of Vernacular and Modern Building Materials and Construction Methods in Ningbo Museum,
Yizhou China to Achieve Sustainable Design Features.

2.1.2 Red Brick

Bricks and tiles are one of the earliest man made building materials. It is
widely used in every part of China but usually those bricks and tiles which are made
out of rammed earth usually comes in green colour. Min Nan ( ), including
Xiamen(), Zhang Zhou(), Quan Zhou(), Long Yan Xin Luo(), and
Zhang Ping(), the bricks in these areas are different, it is red in colour.
No difference from green tiles, red tiles are also made out of rammed earth but
the process of making the tiles are different. When the red tiles are baked, it is put
aside to let it slowly dried off. Allowing the oxygen from the oven to have chemical
reaction with the substance in the rammed earth, producing red tiles. Whereas, the
green tiles are not put aside to dry off, cold water is poured onto the tiles immediately,
killing off the presence of the oxygen, thus creating green tiles. (Wang, 2004)
Red bricks and tiles are important pieces of China which carries a lot of
memories and the architect, Wang Shu choose to use it in Ningbo Museum, bringing in
memories to the architecture both physically and mentally.

ARC 2213/2234 Asian Architecture

Combination of Vernacular and Modern Building Materials and Construction Methods in Ningbo Museum,
Yizhou China to Achieve Sustainable Design Features.

2.1.3 Wa Pan masonry & Mortar

Wa Pan method is a technique where people used back fragments from the
scourge such as typhoons to build their destroyed houses, the technique will be further
explain later in chapter 3.1.
The material of the Wa Pan Construction method includes ceramic roof tiles,
terracotta tiles, ashlar masonry, brick block, stones and bricks. Any materials that can
be found after the typhoon will be taken up and placed onto the ruined ground and
pieces by pieces, people will build the house back up. Mortar as the binder is made out
of clay and mud, it is mixed together with water and binds layer of building fragments
together forming a house.
This way of building back a dwelling, saves both time and cost effectively as
people do not need to repurchase building materials and also this building technique is
a very fast process. By using Wa Pan Construction materials in Ningbo Museum, it
saves cost and also bringing back the traditional technique into the modern
architecture.

ARC 2213/2234 Asian Architecture

Combination of Vernacular and Modern Building Materials and Construction Methods in Ningbo Museum,
Yizhou China to Achieve Sustainable Design Features.

Vernacular Chinese Architecture Materials Features


2.1.1

Bamboo & Cement

In this modern era, architects tend to study and discover more on modern
materials such as steel, plastic sheet, glass and others but many seems to forget about
the traditional materials. As an architect who would like to combine the old and new
architecture, Wang Shu used bamboo as one of the main material in Ningbo Museum.
Bamboo is a strong, renewable and easy to work with material. Until today people
still use it as scaffold as it is strong enough to carry the weight and also recyclable. Also
in China, bamboo can be easily found thus it is the best material to choose for Ningbo
Museum. Wang Shu used the bamboo as the structure of the building and used cement
to cover over it. Firstly, cement is able to strengthen the bamboo making it a stronger
faade to the building. Secondly, cement acts as a binder, holding the bamboo
together. Thirdly a cement faade with a bamboo texture creates a very special and
elegant look for the museum.

ARC 2213/2234 Asian Architecture

Combination of Vernacular and Modern Building Materials and Construction Methods in Ningbo Museum,
Yizhou China to Achieve Sustainable Design Features.

2.1.2

Red Bricks & Terracotta Roof Tile

Ningbo Museum used the Wa Pan technique which will be explain later in chapter
3.1, where it is a technique collecting all the debris materials which came from the
building that were destroyed after scourges such as typhoons and quickly built it back
to provide shelter for the people.
Wang Shu designed Ningbo Museum as an architecture which is different from
other museum, instead of collecting sculptures, drawings and histories data or facts,
the architecture itself also collects stories. He looked for red bricks and terracotta roof
tiles from all the destroyed buildings, bringing all bricks by bricks and combines all of
them together using the Wa Pan technique.
The red brick is a very strong building material, even after scourges it still stay as
how it looks like and now standing on the faade of the Ningbo Museum giving itself a
new identity. While the terracotta tile, which is flat in shape making itself useful in the
making of Ningbo Museum faade as there are many holes to fill in and its flat shape
provides an opportunity to fill in the gaps.

ARC 2213/2234 Asian Architecture

Combination of Vernacular and Modern Building Materials and Construction Methods in Ningbo Museum,
Yizhou China to Achieve Sustainable Design Features.

2.1.3

Wa Pan Masonry & Mortar

Using the Wa Pan technique, masonry such as the ashlar masonry, the brick
block, ceramic bricks and tiles are all used to create the faade of the Ningbo Museum.
All of the materials above are stacked layer after layer using mortar as the binding
agent.
Same as the red bricks and terracotta roof tiles, the Wa Pan masonry are also
collected from different destroyed old buildings, carrying history and memories of
different places. By using back these old materials, Wang Shu not only save the cost of
the construction also making good use of the advantage of the materials as it has way
better quality as it still remains its looks and strength after going through all the
scourges.

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Combination of Vernacular and Modern Building Materials and Construction Methods in Ningbo Museum,
Yizhou China to Achieve Sustainable Design Features.

3.0 Construction Methods Used


3.1 Vernacular Chinese Architecture Construction Methods
3.1.1 Timber and Mud

During the Hwang Ho civilization era, materials that human could easily find was
timber and mud, therefore pit house was produced. Timber was used as the structure
of the pit house where else the mud as the covering on the timber structure. While
forming the structure, timber was placed into a semi-circular shape and tied onto each
other using (branches). Mud was mixed with some water and slowly shaped following
the timber structures shape.
Humans construction methods during that era were limited therefore they do not
know how to produce a walls structure. So instead of building a building above the
ground, they dig a hole below and built the so called timber mud structure roof above
the hole. The door of the pit house is on the top of the timber mud structure, therefore
producing this funny entrance as shown as the picture above.

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Combination of Vernacular and Modern Building Materials and Construction Methods in Ningbo Museum,
Yizhou China to Achieve Sustainable Design Features.

3.1.2 Wa Pan Method

The Wa Pan method exist in China for a very long time, it is a traditional
Chinese construction method. It is widely used in places where scourges such as
typhoon happen frequently. During typhoon seasons, building will be blown down and
the people will lose their shelter. Therefore they invented this Wa Pan method, trying to
rebuild their shelter as soon as possible before the next round of typhoon coming.
Wa Pan Construction method includes materials such as ceramic roof tiles,
ashlar masonry, brick block and many more. Whatever materials that are blown down
from the previous building will be reuse and restack to form another wall to protect the
people from the scourge. All the materials mentioned above will be stack together and
bind together using mortar, layer by layer.
The advantage of this Wa Pan Construction method is that it save cost as the
people do not need to buy the building materials over again to rebuild the building
which will be blown down again by the typhoon. Other than that, Wa Pan Construction
method is a fast and easily done construction method. People will just need the
fragments from the destroyed buildings and mortar to rebuild their house, thus it does
not require a heavy job scope.
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Combination of Vernacular and Modern Building Materials and Construction Methods in Ningbo Museum,
Yizhou China to Achieve Sustainable Design Features.

3.2 Ningbo Museum Construction Methods


3.2.1 Bamboo & Cement

Using the traditional timber and mud pit house as reference, the architect Wang
Shu used the same concept on Ningbo Museum but changing the materials. The
timber and mud pit house is one of Chinas earliest methods of building architectures,
therefore the architect hopes to bring in this important building technique into the
museum.
Similarly, bamboo will be replacing timber as the structure and cement will be
replacing mud as the faade. Firstly, bamboos are placed next to each other, then
cement is poured on the arranged bamboo and a faade with a nature foot print is
produced. Although Ningbo Museum are mainly made out of steel and concrete,
bamboo still plays a very significant role in it as the concrete formwork in Ningbo
Museum are made of bamboo.

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Combination of Vernacular and Modern Building Materials and Construction Methods in Ningbo Museum,
Yizhou China to Achieve Sustainable Design Features.

3.2.2 Wa Pan Construction Method

One of the main attractions of the Ningbo Museum is the Wa Pan Wall, it is a
traditional method where most people had forgotten its existence. To counter this issue,
Wang Shu had studied a lot and did many researches about it and had used this
technique for the Chinese Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in year 2006, to make a clear
statement about village demolition.
Wa Pan Construction method had always been used for small scale buildings,
normally with a maximum height of three meters. For Ningbo museum, it requires a
height of twenty four meters, therefore it is considered as a very big breakthrough in
architecture. As technology gets better, peoples life gradually improves and slowly,
machine took over man - made items. At first, when the construction started, people
forgotten the way of building the Wa Pan. People with Wa Pan Construction knowledge
are chosen to build and they had to trace back at the photos which are found by Wang
Shu during the research.

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Combination of Vernacular and Modern Building Materials and Construction Methods in Ningbo Museum,
Yizhou China to Achieve Sustainable Design Features.

Wa Pan Construction was never used in contemporary buildings, therefore a lot of


prototypes were produced and the final solution was to use Wa Pan Masonry and
mortar, tying back to a concrete linear panel. The compression strength of the masonry
is very weak, therefore a main concrete structure was placed behind the masonry
acting as the structure and also a weather barrier of the Ningbo Museum. An invisible
concrete ledger is integrated horizontally into the panel every three meters.

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Combination of Vernacular and Modern Building Materials and Construction Methods in Ningbo Museum,
Yizhou China to Achieve Sustainable Design Features.

4.0 Sustainable Design Concept


4.1 Achieving Renewable Design Concept
Most materials used in constructions are obtained from finite resources which,
once exploited, can never be replaced. These are non- renewable building
materials, whereas in Ningbo Museum Wang Shu had chosen to use renewable
building materials.
Renewable building materials are basically organic materials that contain
carbon, it is flammable and also biodegradable. Renewable building materials help
saving energy and at the same time improving the comfort of the users.
Concrete, one of the main building materials in Ningbo museum is an excellent
material which creates thermal mass in architecture. In a four seasons country
like China, concrete helps to regulate its temperature, keeping it cool in summer
and warm in winter.
The Wa Pan masonry includes mud bricks, stone tiles and others that contains
high thermal mass. It helps to store and absorb heat, providing temperature
stability inside a building. It is also low in embodied energy, having good sound
absorption characteristic, water resistant, and it is easy to work with.
Bamboo, a strong, flexible and readily available material. It is very easy to work
with and also very light in weight making it easy to transport. With proper
treatment, bamboo can last a very long time, much like timber. Its shock
absorption capacity makes it a great building material for earthquake resistance.

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Combination of Vernacular and Modern Building Materials and Construction Methods in Ningbo Museum,
Yizhou China to Achieve Sustainable Design Features.

4.2 Achieving Low Cost Design Concept


Ningbo museum is a massive architecture with amazing faade and building
elements in it. Despite its mass, the building cost is actually not as high as
expected with such building outcome. As mentioned above, the main materials
used are steel and concrete. Those are easily found building materials and on top
of that, very low cost.
As for the bamboo cement wall, the materials are bamboos, which can be
easily found in YiZhou, China and cement which is a commonly used building
material. With this combination of two cheap and easily found building materials,
an elegant faade was produced. Bamboo carries the Chinese essence, making it
unique in the Ningbo Museum.
The Wa Pan Construction walls made out of collections of bricks and tiles from
every part of China, the fragments of building materials are collected therefore
minimum construction cost are used. The binding mortar is also made out of
Portland cement, which is a cheap and can be found easily from anywhere. By
using the fragments of building, it save costs and also creates a distinctive story
out of the wall of Ningbo Museum.

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Combination of Vernacular and Modern Building Materials and Construction Methods in Ningbo Museum,
Yizhou China to Achieve Sustainable Design Features.

4.3 Achieving Innovative Design Concept


Innovative is introducing something new, ideas which are fresh and not a single
person had ever thought of. Ningbo Museum had included innovative design tools
in its design, creating something thats new to most.
Wa Pan Construction method is a traditional building method which is usually
used in temporary dwellings, but in Ningbo museum it is built for a permanent
usage, this shows an achievement Wang Shu acquired thats innovative.
A few years back, Wa Pan Construction which is made for temporary building
had never appeared on modern architecture, so when Wang Shu wanted to use
this method, he need to do a lot of research and prototypes in order to create this
innovation.
Wa Pan Construction technique prepared for temporary dwellings can usually
reach three meters in height, but in Ningbo Museum, the Wa Pan masonry
reached twenty four meters in height, simply with the help of concrete structure as
the support. With all these facts stated, we acknowledge that Ningbo museum is
the first ever massive architecture that uses Wa Pan Technique.

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Combination of Vernacular and Modern Building Materials and Construction Methods in Ningbo Museum,
Yizhou China to Achieve Sustainable Design Features.

5.0 Conclusion
As a conclusion, the Ningbo Museum used a lot of traditional building materials
and construction methods in creating a modern architecture. With the use of bamboocement construction method and Wa Pan Construction method, the museum
transformed waste materials into an environment permeated architecture full of
meaning, served as a reminder of village demolition while simultaneously presenting a
contemporary translation of traditional masonry construction. Wa Pan, once considered
a lowly material of the poor, is reinforced in a manner that permits it to function on a
scale demanded by contemporary Chinese standards. (Golden, 2012)

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Combination of Vernacular and Modern Building Materials and Construction Methods in Ningbo Museum,
Yizhou China to Achieve Sustainable Design Features.

6.0 References
Golden, E.G. (2012).Sustainability 1: Traditional Materials Optimized for the TwentyFirst Century, presented at ACSA International Conference, Barcelona, 2012.
Wang, Q. (2004). Tu shuo min ju (Di 1 ban. ed.). Beijing: Zhongguo jian zhu gong ye
chu ban she.
Shan, D. (2004). Chinese vernacular dwelling. Beijing: China International Press.
History and development of ancient Chinese architecture. (1986). Beijing, China:
Science Press.
Sustainable by design 2050. (n.d.).Retrieved from http://sbd2050.org/project/ningbohistory-museum-23/
Ningbo Historic Museum. (n.d.). Retrieved from
http://en.wikiarquitectura.com/index.php/Ningbo_Historic_Museum

Turnitin plagiarism check: 5%

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