Geodesic pergola of recycled timbers revitalizes rural village

Jin Weiqi
© Jin Weiqi

In a nod to Buckminster Fuller's design philosophy of "maximum gain with minimal input," the wooden supports for this lightweight canopy are recycled from a village renovation project.

What common ground might design visionary Buckminster Fuller and a quiet village in rural China share? There is more there than one might initially think, thanks to this gorgeous geodesic canopy created by LUO Studio for Luotuowan village in Hebei province, using timber recycled from a village-wide renovation project.

Jin Weiqi© Jin Weiqi

Jin Weiqi© Jin Weiqi
Spanning over an existing walkway that navigates over one of the village's escarpments, the new Luotuowan Pergola functions as a shaded gathering spot for members of the community. The project was built as part of a local government initiative to improve infrastructure and housing conditions in the village, which has struggled through decades of economic downturn as more and more people are flocking to the big cities in search of work. This new initiative subsidized the construction of new houses or renovations of existing housing in the village -- much of which is in a state of disrepair.

Jin Weiqi© Jin Weiqi

Jin Weiqi© Jin Weiqi

According to Dezeen, many of the residents chose to replace leaking, timber-supported roofs with a concrete roof instead -- resulting in a surplus of wooden beams that could potentially be reused elsewhere.

Jin Weiqi© Jin Weiqi

This bounty of wood was perfect for constructing the new pergola, and so the original plan to truck in and use steel struts was scrapped in favour of reusing the wood in a minimalist way. The geodesic framework is a respectful nod toward Buckminster Fuller and adapts his design philosophies about "maximum gain of advantage from minimal energy input," explain the designers:

The design philosophy of 'dymaxion' actually resonates with the concept of rural construction. Many Chinese villages present a unique built landscape, which was created by generations of villagers who had the wisdom to make use of local materials and maximize functions with minimal input.

Jin Weiqi© Jin Weiqi

Using the materials to build a self-supporting geodesic form that is light, yet maximizes coverage, the walkway is now sheltered from the sun, but also free of any supporting columns that block the space. The wooden struts are pieced together with custom-made metal hardware, in addition to tensioning cables. Durable polycarbonate panels have been inserted in between to temper the strong sunlight.

At night, the serpent-like structure is lit, providing a luminous contrast to the mountainous landscape beyond. Best of all, by reusing the timbers, the project was simplified enough that the villagers could do most of the construction themselves, saving time and money for more village renewal projects in the future.

Jin Weiqi© Jin Weiqi

To see more, visit LUO Studio.

Geodesic pergola of recycled timbers revitalizes rural village
In a nod to Buckminster Fuller's design philosophy of "maximum gain with minimal input," the wooden supports for this lightweight canopy are recycled from a village renovation project.

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