Jian’ganshan village is a provincial-level poor village in Xinning county, central China’s Hunan province.
Deng Hansong, a teacher at the School of Art and Design under Changsha University of Science & Technology, and his students have found a way to design beautiful, but affordable, courtyards for the village – collecting used materials collected from residents.
Adhering to the principle of doing all the work by themselves and not letting villagers spend any money on construction materials, Deng and his students were often seen collecting materials in the village.
In one example, they collected ebony, beams and other traditional construction materials to decorate a courtyard. These traditional materials reflect the local culture but are rarely used in newly-built houses in the village. This means that reusing them not only allows them to carry out their decorations, but also passes forward traditional culture, according to Deng.
The team also took waste tires, buckets, dustpans and other materials from demolished houses, and used them to decorate a lotus pond.
Deng suggested making the best of local materials, including stones, wood and used items, in their courtyard and landscape design to improve villagers’ living environment without costing them too much. Villagers have welcomed Deng’s free and beautiful renovation projects.
Internet users lauded Deng’s actions to improve the rural living environment and cultivate students by letting them put what they have learnt into practice.