Even though I have been interested in vernacular architecture for a long time, I only started to work on this book in July 2014. This research was triggered by two events: first, a weiwu at Dafuzhen (1870) caught my attention in early January 2012 during a field trip in Fujian with Yuyu Chang who was a visiting scholar at our university; and second, the university requested that the relationship between the host and the guest should be a research partnership.
This book is the result of our joint-teaching and research project. The rich and diverse vernacular architecture of China has provoked admiration, but it is seldom analysed as a key to our understanding of Chinese architecture. There were three principles when I designed the project: it must be a detailed case study; a documentation in graphic form with notes adhere to; and the architecture must be understood in planning contexts.
The study of this particular case has raised numerous questions among which is that its design is unknown. A step-by-step investigation of Dafuzhen’s various features has provided a great deal of information. This book presents the weiwu in a tectonic and technical sphere. Our study on building and setting has led to an understanding of the reasons for architectural forms and planning.
This book consists of three parts. Part I puts Dafuzhen in a context. Part II deals with Dafuzhen from two perspectives: planning and architecture. Part III concerns details at design level. As demonstrated in this study, first, water management played an important role in overall design and planning; second, the weiwu was closely related to a group of Chinese architecture typologically.