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Defining Community

The Ger Innovation Hub provides much needed community infrastructure to residents living in the Ger districts of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. These districts have no running water or sewage systems and in the extreme winter, with temperatures reaching -40 °C, coal is the main source of heat, resulting in debilitating air pollution. Over 70% of the city’s population live in these settlements which are growing by 30,000 people per year, many of whom give up a nomadic lifestyle to move to the city. In the process of becoming urban, residents are confronted with new sets of challenges and they encounter common problems that become the responsibility of a collective body of people. In a culture which has no word for “community”, the aim of the project is to enable residents to address what it means to live together and forge new methods of collaboration. The Hub will offer a crèche, after-school club, performance space and educational workshops for talks and vocational training. Inspired by the ger, we designed a layered structure: An inner room made of mud bricks is surrounded by an outer layer of polycarbonate, creating a buffer space that traps radiant heat in the winter. This reduces energy consumption and serves as a model for the district to reduce coal use. The building is a place for all sections of the community and offers an alternative place to go, when, particularly in winter, residents are confined to their households. As we continue to monitor and evaluate the building’s performance, the project demonstrates how the process of making architecture can be a model to enable the construction of a community.

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Defining Community
Hong Kong, 2021
Joshua Bolchover and John Lin

Posted
31.Oct.2021 59 views
Author
Joshua Bolchover and John Lin Joshua Bolchover & John Lin

Joshua Bolchover & John Lin are Associate Professors at the University of Hong Kong where they set up Rural Urban Framework (RUF), a design and research lab focused on sites impacted by the dynamics between urban and rural transformation. Over the past 12 years, RUF has been working in two very contradictory contexts: in rural China, and in the city of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The projects include schools, community centers, hospitals, village houses, bridges, and incremental planning strategies. RUF has received numerous international awards including the 2016 RIBA International Award for Emerging Architect and their work has been exhibited internationally including the Venice Biennale, 2020, 2018, and 2016. Publications  include, among others, Designing the Rural: A Global Countryside in Flux (Architectural Design 2016).

https://rufwork.hku.hk/

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