Partnering traditional craftsmanship with Fab Lab solutions to improve lives in rural farm villages

  • Date: 2017 - 2018

  • Community: Huizhou / Shenzhen, China

  • Partners: SZOIL, Future+ and Shanzhai City

We were invited to join the British Council programme, Hello Shenzhen, to bring best practice of environmentally focused maker projects from around the world to support livelihoods in rural China. The Pearl River Delta has witnessed urbanisation at an unprecedented scale and speed. We examining how Shenzhen, it's 'manufacturing backbone', can support rural life and vice versa - how local craftsmanship and cultural identity can be harnessed.

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Huizhou, China

Huizhou, China

Reimagining the Forgotten Buildings of Xinguang Village

We invited submissions to a new design competition. We were looking for a range of innovative ideas and fresh thinking to imagine a new life for the abandoned buildings of Xinguang, and a vision for progress in rural China.

32 designers and innovators, from 12 countries, submitted proposals. A shortlist of 15 were exhibited in a local ancestral hall within the village, and presented to the community, interested parties and local authority.

An international jury consisting of Ms. Katrine Hesseldahl (Industrial Designer, RCA), Mr. Jason Hilgefort (Architect / Academic Director, Future+), Mr. Lai (Vice-Director, HZZK) and Ms. Chen Zhu (Vice-Chairperson, Shenzhen Architects Association) awarded a winner and three honourable mentions. The general public also voted for their 'people's choice' award.


'We Grow Older Together Here'

Joan Cane (China)

Best art initiative

'Storytelling in Xinguang'

Claire Tunnacliffe (UK)

Best programme

'Buildings That Heal'

Georgia Papasozomenou (Cyprus)

Best story & people’s choice

'The Beast of Guangdong'

Justin Brown (UK)

The shortlisted proposals revitalise the village… the people, buildings, education and rural to urban movements. I believe they could improve the lives of local people from both an economic and spiritual perspective.
— Visitor

Hello Shenzhen

Hello Shenzhen is a partnership between the British Council, The Shenzhen Foundation for International Exchange and Cooperation and Shenzhen Open Innovation Lab.

The programme is developed in collaboration with Liz Corbin, Institute of Making, UCL.