Wind and Rain Bridge

Department: Architecture
Research Centre: Fabrication and Material Technologies Lab
Active Dates: September 2015 - March 2016 - Built over a ten day period.

Wind and Rain Bridge
Covered Walkway, Shelter, and Meeting place

Project Team: Jiang, Hejia (Team Leader) Man Ho Kwan, HKU Architecture Students
Funding body: Supported by the Gallant Ho Experiential Learning Fund, HKU
Design: Donn Holohan / the University of Hong Kong

This project seeks to offer an alternative mode of community redevelopment that references local crafts and traditions, and utilizes sustainable materials and methods, to create both social and physical infrastructure. Critical to this process is the integration of digital design methodologies, which allow for the planning and testing of complex assemblies. The high level of training and labor associated with these assemblies has been a barrier to the continued viability of complex, long-span, timber structures in China and other developing and transitioning economies.

Situated on the outskirts of Peitian Village, Fujian Province, China and designed to be constructed without the use of mechanical fasteners, “Wind and Rain Bridge” is a reciprocal interlocking timber structure which draws on the long tradition of wooden buildings native to the region. Each of the bridges’ 265 elements is unique and integral, assembled under the supervision of traditional carpenters, who number some of the few remaining exponents of their craft.  Central to this project is the idea of reciprocity, the bridge uses relatively short elements to build a structure with a span longer than its’ individual parts – where each beam is supported, and supports other beams in the structure. This structural system is generated to fulfil a spatial and social agenda, yet simultaneously the way in which the project is constructed underpins and informs these attitudes.

The bridge is constructed from locally sourced, sustainable timber. It is designed to achieve its’ relatively long span without the use of metal brackets, supports or mechanical fixings. This severe restriction, inspired by vernacular architecture ultimately led to the design of a complex jointing system, which harnesses timbers’ hydroscopic qualities -the expansion of the timber elements in reaction to its environment compresses each of the dovetailed joints which make up its superstructure.

Project Information

Supported by the Gallant Ho Experiential Learning Fund, and integrated within the University of Hong Kong’s introduction
to architectural design course, The Peitian bridge project took 70 students to southern Fujian to aid in the construction
of this community structure.

Location: Peitian Village, Fujian Province, China

Construction: Peitian Community Craftsmen

Size: 20 sqm

UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG
FACULTY OF ARCHITECTURE