Shanxi, China partnership restores landscape of the world’s oldest Taoist temple

Situated in Ruicheng County, Shanxi Provice, the Five Dragons Temple (Guang Ren Wang Temple) is listed as a class A cultural relic by the National Cultural Heritage Conservation Bureau in China.

Built in 831 A.D. during the Tang Dynasty, it is the oldest surviving Taoist temple. Sitting on a raised ridge above its surrounding village, the temple itself is segregated from the everyday lives of the villagers.

The original picturesque view of the temple has also lost its charms due to the increasing exacerbation of the environment. Furthermore, modern irrigation techniques has replaced the rite for praying rain, and thus turning Five Dragons Temple from a spiritual center to rubbish.

In 2015, the Vanke Group initiated the “Long Plan” to raise fund to revitalize the environment of the Five Dragons Temple. This plan also helps to raise public awareness of this historic preservation project.

This initiative is the first time that the government and private parties have partnered in the restoration of cultural relics, and in the promotion of cultural protection through both online the platforms of internet and the international Expo.

The design of the environment uplift for the Five Dragons Temple is centered around two themes. An outstanding theme is to create layers of overlapping spaces around the main building to tell the story of the temple history and ancient Chinese architecture.

Through this theme, people would learn about the knowledge of traditional Chinese architecture to better understand the importance for the preservation of heritage.

The underlying strategy is to restore the temple into an area of public gathering in the village, and to give an alleviated environment to encourage contemporary lifestyles in coherent with the realms of ancient architecture.

Project Statistics:

Principle Architect: Wang Hui
Team: Zou Dehua, Du Aihong, Wen Ting, Anne Van Stijn, Li Xiaofen, Li Yongcai
Location: Ruicheng City, Shanxi Province
Client: The Tourism Cultural Relics Bureau of Ruicheng City
Executive Team: “Long•Plan”Group|Ding Changfeng, Hou Zhenghua, Cao Jiangwei, Li Xiaomei, Dong Lina, Lv Jiancang, Zhang Xiaokang, Wang Hui, Han Jiaying
Construction Documents Collaborators: Architectural Design and Research Institute of Tsinghua University Co.,Ltd | Loma Landscape Co.,Ltd
Exhibition Design: Han Jiaying Design & Associates Co.,Ltd
Photo credits: Yang Chaoying, Jerry Yin

See project on URBANUS website.

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