Bryan He & Steven Hung

A Building that Breathes: Hakka Traditions and Technologies
Bryan He ( Research Scholarship Recipient )

In the summer of 2017, with support from University of Manitoba and the Bill Allen Research Scholarship, a field study of vernacular Hakka traditions and technologies was conducted by visiting Hakka villages in the mountainous regions of China along the borders of its three southern provinces: Jiangxi, Fujian, and Guangdong.

Vernacular architecture represents the collective wisdom of a culture, it is a reflection of the culture’s beliefs, rituals, and traditions, and it is a projection of the culture’s utopian world view that is passed on for generations that follows. Vernacular architecture reveals a culture’s understanding and interpretation of its geographical and political context through siting considerations, orientation and relationship to the cosmos, the land, and its neighbors, growth and development patterns, evolving typologies, and adaptive reuse potentials in contemporary times. Vernacular architecture also demonstrates a culture’s understanding of the available materials and building methods and technologies in a systematic manner. In Architecture Without Architects, Bernard Rudofsky wrote “Vernacular architecture does not go through fashion cycles. It is nearly immutable, indeed, unimprovable, since it serves its purpose to perfection.”  Hakka vernacular architecture is such a case that has been perfected and sustained for hundreds of years. This Food for Thought presentation will open up the world of the Hakkas through a series of photo essays of this field study journey.

Bryan is a second year master’s student in the Department of Architecture working towards completing his Design Thesis - A Building that Breathes: Bridging the Everyday Life of Nature and Human Nature. The notion of a building that breathes is deeply informed by his experience and field studies of Hakka Vernacular architecture, as a mode of search and research, breathing in and breathing out. Born in Guangzhou, China as a Hakka, Bryan moved to Vancouver, Canada in 2003 and completed his Bachelor in Architectural Science at British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) in 2011. He then spent a year in Sydney, Australia before returning to work in Vancouver.   Bryan now enjoys living and studying in the wild landscape of Winnipeg.

The Imbedded Logic of Material
Steven Hung ( Travel Scholarship Recipient )

Inspired by the local vernacular of bamboo gazebos, huts and river houses observed during a two-year residence in Thailand, inquiries between the connection of materiality and culture returned home with me as I began my graduate studies.  This narrative of what we build with and how we live is fundamental to providing insight into the place and memory held by collective societies. 
Made possible by the Bill Allen Scholarship in Architecture (Travel), this lecture will revolve around my recent return to South East Asia visiting communities that are using bamboo as their primary construction material and how they speak to the livelihoods of those in the community.   

Steven is a second-year master’s student in the Department of Architecture working towards completing his Design Thesis.    

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Food for Thought
Thursday, December 07, 2017
Noon  |  Room 210
John A. Russell Building
Faculty of Architecture
University of Manitoba