Integration and re-engineering of architectural heritage in Guangxi, Inner Mongolia minority regions in China with UK modern bio-based construction technology

A few images of the world’s first Bamboo-timber composite gridshell structure. This was designed by the team during and built in Guangxi during June 2023 with the support of students from Guangxi University of Science and Technology, and Team BE-Napier students from Edinburgh Napier University funded by the British Council and the Turing Scheme UK.

Architecture is frozen music. Architectural heritage is a crystallization of arts, engineering, culture and history, carrying the ancient wisdom of different nations, an indelible mark of human-nature interactions, and undoubtedly, a national treasure. This is more precious in the minority regions in China, such as Guangxi and Inner Mongolia due to their unique living style, source of livelihood, tortuous history and differentiated cultural integrations in the past. However, it has attracted less attention than those more developed regions in coastal line areas in China.

Architectural conservation is always one of the most important elements during the practice of architects and civil engineers. It is challenging but rewarding, and it is becoming more important and compelling under the current double pressure of economic development and the fast-growing demand for housing. The modern, yet less culture-rich concrete, steel dominant construction technologies are overshadowing traditional bio-/natural fibre-based construction in these minority regions.

In this project, through the trilateral international research collaboration, the project team aims to develop a unique research programme to integrate and re-engineer the architectural heritage in Guangxi, Inner Mongolia Minority regions in China with the UK modern bio-based construction technology.

This is a project led by my colleague Prof. Johnson Zhang and also in collaboration with Dr Suha Jaradat and Dr Ahmed Mohamed.

Here it is with a different light.

This project was completed in March 2024.