Chetian Cultural Center

West-line Studio

 

The cultural center is located in the rural Chetian Village, in Guizhou province, South-West China. The village has more than 400 years of history and is famous for its 'stone houses'. 41 families, out of the 207 living in the village, belong to the Miao ethnic minority, one of the oldest minority groups in China. 

The architecture of the cultural center is characterized by 40cm thick walls, built with the stone coming from the village's pit. The stone has a unique blue shade, which is why it is commonly called 'blue stone'. It comes from sedimentary rocks and its major components are limestone and dolomite. 

During the three years of construction three village heads succeed one another in the direction of the construction site, and together with them different construction and extraction techniques. Architects have been studying the existing stone houses of the village in order to preserve has much as they could the traditional masonry methods, together with more modern construction technologies. The result is a series of trials mistakes and irregularities which deliberately become an active part of the architecture, because each and every stone keeps the memory of its construction process and of the different hands of those have shaped it. 
The cultural center works as an exhibition center for local traditional Miao handicrafts and costumes. The strong and obsessive presence of the stone creates an intimate interior space and shows the architects' deep respect for the historical masonry traditions and culture of South-West China stone villages.

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