In rural China, an informal wave of building jump-started by economic and social transformations over the past 40 years has rendered some villages unrecognizable. The resulting building boom, taking place in a context with very few regulations, has created densities more often found in urban areas. At the same time, the sudden availability of new materials and industrial methods of construction have enabled some remarkable hybrid experiments where rural self-builders adapt, modify, graft, cleave, and wrap traditional building types. Unconstrained by notions of good taste or formal considerations, these unexpected and innovative solutions are reflections on some of the most pertinent issues of contemporary dwelling, whether building sustainably or negotiating tradition.
As Found Houses argues that the manifold evolution of the vernacular is part of the everyday practice of the villagers’ lives. The book documents surprising design decisions in the domestic architecture of rural China and is a resource for thinking about new ways of living together.