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Build with Memory

Application of traditional construction method in post-disaster shelter

2020 Dutch Design Week with ArtEZ University of Arts

This is a project about the reutilization of Taiwanese indigenous sustainable building methodology for post-disaster reconstruction of housing and emotional feelings.

In 2018 Hualien earthquake, Taiwan, concrete buildings we believed in crumbled down, but the hundreds-year-old indigenous buildings stayed firmly in place. It became my motivation to study the resilience of the Taiwanese indigenous building. The indigenous craftsman applied simple and easy-to-learn construction methods to create sturdy buildings. Such sturdiness is not to establish the boundary with nature by a stone wall, but to reduce the frontal collision with the disaster in accordance with the rhythm of the environment which I call alternative sturdiness.

Due to the limitation of technology, none of these buildings used adhesives. As a result, they developed a sustainable building method. According to my research, such a method extends the lifespan of the material and makes architecture more sustainable. Building materials are undamaged by nail and glue, thus they could stay intact and be reused after buildings are demolished. The key point to implement this method is using the pressure from the material's self-weight and the tension generated by the bundled rattan. I apply this method to post-disaster reconstruction.

In the post-disaster scene, fragments of our home scattered around our feet. Seeing the wreckages, not as a waste but material to rebuild the space and the belongingness and secureness of people. I proposed to construct a temporary shelter by a traditional building method and the remains of our home. The process of building a shelter, it is also a rebuilding treatment for our own memory. Furthermore, the completeness of materials is preserved by this method, thus the wreckages could be used in permanent housing rather than be transported into landfills. The daily objects from the past become a shelter in the present. It not only extends the lifespan of the material but also our priceless memory.



Construction progress


Construction rules


Construction timeline

Shen, Ying-Ting, Spread 1-1.JPG

Detail of 1 : 1 model 

Future Justice01.JPG

1 : 1 model of Column


Detail of 1 : 1 model 

Build with Memory- Community

The perspective of shelter community

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