“Bamboo Branch Academy”, designed by Archermit, is found in Yongjiang Village, Yibin, Sichuan Province, near the famous Shun-an Bamboo Sea Scenic Area, situated in a small village in Huangjuetan, Yongjiang Village, is circled by bamboo forests, paddy domains, vegetable patches, and mountains. It covers a neighborhood of 533 sq m and was constructed in the year 2019. The Academy is surrounded by the Yujiang River on the west and south and by the Shunan Bamboo Sea on the north covering a huge green area. The bamboo trees on the hills around the village greatly impressed the designers. It is an ideal example where architecture is in perfect harmony with nature.

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Bamboo Branch Academy by Archermit: Inspired by Bamboo - Sheet1
Bamboo Branch Academy_©Archilovers.com, 2021

Design Ideation

Bamboo Branch Academy is a multi-purpose civic center and a school which is built using sustainable techniques. It was built when China was trying to revitalize rural areas. It was built to develop bamboo industries following local contextual areas encompassing it.  The bamboo of Yibin would also serve as an ecological gateway for southern Sichuan to be exposed to the entire world. However, the architectural purpose was to construct a Music Workshop under Bamboo Branch Academy, Paddy Field Academy, and a Meditation Hall.

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Two old houses are remodeled and built-in southern Sichuan which forms the Bamboo Branch Academy. The Academy incorporates mainly two functions- music workshop and meditation center which were combined to separate Bamboo Branch Academy. The house utilized for meditation is renovated and is located far-off and properly protected. The house on the brink of the road was severely damaged and thus, rebuilt into a music workshop. Both the academies are connected by a corridor which creates an impression of surrounding the house. Many outdoor spaces were designed as multi-functional spaces to feature vitality.

Traditional Chinese literature considers bamboo branches to be as important as the bamboo itself. It encouraged the development of bamboo handicrafts and increased the monthly wages of the local people of the village.

Bamboo Branch Academy by Archermit: Inspired by Bamboo - Sheet2
Bamboo Branch_©hw.net, 2021

Material and Construction

The village is usually covered with mist and withered plants. The village is always occupied with ducks playing within the paddy field, dogs barking at strangers, and the villagers strolling in the fields. Sichuan can influence an individual through its various scenes: the bamboo-clad hills around the base, the mud walls embraced with bamboo strips surrounding the tumbledown house, the grayish blue-tiled roof, and the plantain trees next to the ancient house. The bamboo forest at the exit of the village acted as a motif of the project – “revitalization”. In the early spring, the bamboo trees on the hills around the village almost reach the sky. It truly describes the saying like mottled shadows cast by bamboo trees, and bamboo trees also formed natural corridors, and their light and shadow, smell, and sound is a very impressive scene to witness. 

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Zhuzhi (bamboo branch) is the name of a melody as well as one of the Yuefu verses. It is closely associated with the music workshop as the folk song and the society as the poem. The concrete and abstract representations of bamboo branches coincided with the architectural plan (music workshop, academy, and meditation), and the scene that the bamboo trees on the hills around the village were about to reach the sky with tender shoots like clusters of green clouds is impressive.

Based on the original construction techniques and materials used, the new construction was also built with traditional materials.

Bamboo Branch Academy by Archermit: Inspired by Bamboo - Sheet3
Bamboo Branch Academy_©Adsttc.com, 2021

Sustainability

The plantain trees, bamboo grooves, and farm paths were relocated and integrated to endow Bamboo Branch Academy with a gentle heart. The village embraces this new member in their area. It is expected that Bamboo Branch Academy will shape the scenic and poetic view of Yongjiang Village, Yibin.

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The purpose of incorporating bamboo shares something in common with Zen. The concept of bamboo knots is turned into the form of the inside and outside of the academy for meditation. The idea of bamboo knots is executed with the semi-outdoor patio, the porch with eave, and the ventilated yet covered inner room. The intention of the unrivaled nature of bamboo is integrated with that of the energy of the music workshop. The idea of “bamboo groves casting shadows and flanking a turning route to tranquility” combines into the image of the whole space of the music workshop, and is portrayed hypothetically by the bamboo thickets in the lawn, the white steel pipes in the entrance, the indoor glass courtyard, and bamboo installations.

Bamboo Branch Academy_©Adsttc.com, 2021

The implantation of the cultural building was expected to bring a positive impact on the ideas and stimulate the locals to develop their economic background. The Bamboo Branch Academy is an ideal example of “building with nature”. It is consciously designed keeping the context in mind. The purpose of the structure is well-delivered to the world. It rightly brings about the old and new close to each other with a poetic and scenic background.

References:

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ArchDaily. (2020). Bamboo Branch Academy / Archermit. [online] Available at: https://www.archdaily.com/947922/bamboo-branch-academy-archermit [Accessed 8 Oct. 2021].

Architect Magazine.com. (2021). [online] Available at: https://www.architectmagazine.com/project-gallery/bamboo-branch-academy [Accessed 5 Oct. 2021].

www.europeanarch.eu. (n.d.). The European Centre. [online] Available at: https://www.europeanarch.eu/international-architecture-awards-archive/2021/08/12/bamboo-branch-academy-yi-bin-china-2019/ [Accessed 9 Oct. 2021].

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Author

Smriti considers Architecture to be an expression of art and is on the road of building many such expressions for the world to experience. She is passionate and motivated to explore the countless angles of architecture design and media. She stays positive and loves to travel.

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