Intangible Reciprocity

Craig Borkenhagen & Yaxi Liu

The Taishan region has a lengthy and robust history of cultural exchange, or reciprocity, that can be seen both in it's architectural character and in it's industrial and economic her­itage. While the qualities of the built environment, such as the number of diaolou that still stand today, is quite evident, what has been lost is a key piece of Taishan's economy,­ namely its secondary industry of porcelain and clay production. Beginning with trade to SE Asia, and quickly moving to the United Kingdom, Portugal, the Middle East, and even the United States, Taishan's ceramics business was a conduit through which notions of culture, heritage, and beauty were exchanged. Our project seeks to rebuild that piece of Taishan's economy and to use it as a means of revitalization for the town of Duanfen. This will be done through a variety of different means, most notably a new winery and pottery­making center situated in the heart of Duanfen.

Territorial Plan

Regional Plan

Fragment Plan

By placing the winery and pottery center in the relative middle of the site, we create a strong node to connect and draw people from Tingjianxu to Haikobu and vice versa. This East West axis becomes the most important transportation route in the site, and is complemented by a North­South axis connecting village in the north to the central node, and on to the industrial area in the south. The result is a reading of the site as four quadrants delineated by four representative villages and the central node. These quadrants, while not embodying an explicit separation of functions, will have unique characteristics to draw villagers and tourists to each one. 

The Duanfen Town Plan shows a desire to consolidate all villages into a more urbanized corridor along the Renguang Provincial Road. Our scheme suggests an opportunity to instead focus that consolidation into the 4 nodes, thus creating a cleaner and more robust construction of the site as nodes which will guide the ensuing agricultural development and provide numerous opportunities for visitors to experience the whole site ­ not just one corridor or village. Moving future development in this direction will bring back active engagement in a lost economy for existing villagers, as well as entice local and non­local entrepreneurs to invest in the homestays and participation farms that will be located in each village. It will also reinforce and allow visitors to participate in the important role small villages have played in Taishan’s agricultural and ceramics history.