Shenzhen Songyuanxia Diaolou Time Park makes it possible to behold five Diaolous all at once in a park of less than 4000 ㎡, which is unique in Shenzhen and even exceptional in China. The perfect integration of plants and Diaolous on site encouraged us to protect them – to carry out protective renovation.
What impressed me the most is the four Diaolous engraved with the traces of time - the collective memory of the Songyuanxia people. Meanwhile, we intend to recreate the collapsed fifth Diaolou in a new way, so that Songyuanxia’s story can be passed on to the future generations. Beyond that, we also hope that this place will resume its role as the community neighborhood center, the everyday routine, the link between the people, and also a place for Shenzhen citizens to experience the culture of Diaolou.
Designed by AUBE Conception, Shenzhen Songyuanxia Diaolou Time Park has officially opened in May 2022 after nearly two years of design and construction process. As the first Diaolou- themed community park in Shenzhen, the project has attracted much attention due to its unique quaint form against the forest of modern skyscrapers nearby, while the century-old Diaolou culture and rich community activities have made the park a neighborhood focus and community cultural center of great popularity with the locals. The completion of Diaolou Time Park not only upgrades the environment of its adjoining community, but also reestablishes the historical imprint of Diaolou back to community life, bringing a new cultural and living experience to the neighborhood and visitors.
Shenzhen Songyuanxia Diaolou Time Park sits in the cultural hinterland connecting Guanlan Subdistrict and Guanhu Subdistrict, adjacent to Guanlan Ecological Cultural District and Luhu Science and Technology Cultural Area, in Songyuanxia Community, Guanhu Subdistrict, Longhua District, Shenzhen. Located in the east of Longhua District, Guanhu Subdistrict is the administrative center of the District. Centuried in history and rich in culture, the 32 Immovable Cultural Relics and 22 existing Hakka Diaolous have made Longhua District a natural "museum" of cultural relics and architectural heritage.
In recent years, centered on the development paradigm of "One Circle, One Area, Three corridors" in Longhua District aiming to build a new center in northern Shenzhen that radiates the central Shenzhen-Dongguan district whilst accelerating the construction of a new generation of intelligent manufacturing economic system that concentrates on information technology as the core and supported by intelligent manufacturing as well as public health, Guanhu Subdistrict has undoubtedly become a charming urban gem that embraces all, from ancient to modern, from inheritance to development.
Covering an area of approximately 3,900 ㎡ , the project faces Beifu Mountain in the north, overlooks Zhangkengjing River in the south, and there are various cultural heritage sites including Chen Family Ancestral Hall and several folk houses in the east. The park is mainly composed of 5 century-old Diaolous (“Diaolou”), namely Chen Kangfa Diaolou, Chen Heshun Diaolou, Chen Daoren Diaolou, Chen Xiantang Diaolou and Yongxiu Diaolou. The first four were all built by returned overseas Chinese, while the Yongxiu School once shared by the whole village was built with donations from the ethnic group of Guo Baogong.
Following the start of Songyuanxia Community old village renovation in 2011, except for the Chen Xiantang Diaolou that collapsed due to heavy rain, the other 4 Diaolous were relocated here from their respective villages from the end of 2012 to 2013 for the purpose of protecting historical relics, hence forming the most distinctive Diaolou-themed square in Shenzhen.
During the park’s renovation process, AUBE design team had made multiple visits to the locals and conducted surveys that focused on the theme of "bringing cultural heritage back to people's everyday life", and trying to rediscover the dusty memories of Diaolou within a limited space into a Diaolou-themed park with a new cultural paradigm.
Six major design strategies are mapped out to reconstruct the park space: open the site boundary and rearrange the weedy community ground to enhance the accessibility and visibility of the park; highlight the axis of the original central square to evoke the sense of rich history; sustain the history, culture and natural vitality by preserving the cultural relics, well-grown vegetation and large trees on site; improve accessibility by adding elevated plank roads to connect the paths along the periphery of the Diaolous; set up landscape story walls and pavement maps based on the Diaolou culture; explore the connotation to reshape Diaolou’s role as a spiritual symbol.
The most unique existence in the park falls on the disappeared "Fifth Diaolou". In 2012, Chen Xiantang Diaolou unfortunately collapsed during a rainstorm. The design employs abstract structure and silk-screen printed glass to restore it in the center of the square, bring Chen Xiantang Dialou back to the public once again, passing on the imprint of the past era. The incredible dialogue reflected on the glass façade on the “Fifth Diaolou” among the existing four travels through time, becoming a silent narrator interpreting of the city's century-old transformation and the cultural inheritance over generations to the visitors.
The original design concept of Diaolou Time Park is to "bring back Diaolou to community life and superimpose history and culture onto everyday living". In order to enhance the sense of belonging and bring traditional culture and art back to the community, the design also proposes a revitalization plan for the four existing Diaolous on site. While satisfying the needs of different groups in their daily activities, the Diaolous are also utilized as a spatial vehicle, showcasing community life scenarios of dynamism and diversity. Hopefully, the relative actions including the repair and revitalization of cultural relics units will be enhanced in this way to truly integrate future community life with the Diaolou complex.
As an AUBE work in practicing "micro-renovation" to explore the protection and revitalization of the cultural heritage of traditional villages in Shenzhen, Songyuanxia Diaolou Time Park intends to demonstrate the organic integration of traditional elements and modern functions, in which way the centuries-long Diaolou history kept in the Songyuanxia old village and the overseas Chinese culture that blends the East and the West are brought back to life in the act of “activation”.
Since its opening, the park has been frequented by neighborhood residents and tourists with great affection. Around the Diaolous are children playing and chasing; under the shade of the trees and in the courtyard, the elderly are drinking tea and playing chess, enjoying the joy of the family. The new blurred into the old and the past fused with the present, the Diaolous that travel through the turbulent eras have become time theaters that will grow together with local community life.
设计 / 竣工年份：2020/2022
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