Chinese Gateway project builds local cultural ties

November 13 / 123

A replica 12th Century Chinese gateway has been built by Masters students of the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning and will be officially launched at Malvern Primary School.

The full-sized timber replica from the Zhejiang province, was built by students of the annual ‘Craft in Traditional Asian Architecture’ studio, led by Hamish Hill and Professor Qinghau Guo of the Melbourne School of Design.

The completed gateway has been given to the Malvern Primary School, which offers its 700 students Mandarin as a second language and has a sister school relationship with a school in Nanjing, China.

Professor Tom Kvan, Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, said the gateway was a meaningful architectural and design project that engaged with the community and introduced students to traditional Chinese techniques.

“Through important community projects such as this, we work with our students to bring to a wider community the culture and craftsmanship of China for the community to enjoy,” he said.

Professor Qinghua Guo, who coordinates the subject, said the gateway was a traditional ornate entrance used for significant Chinese buildings.

“It welcomes visitors as a showcase to an important place and typically provides a sense of pride of place for anyone who enters through it,” she said.

Studio coordinator Hamish Hill said the project gave students a unique chance to build on a large scale and in different materials using traditional Asian techniques.

“It is a chance to move away from working at a model scale to learn about full sized construction, with all the complexities of working with timber to build a traditional design,” he said.

Malvern Primary School Principal, Richard Bennetts said the school was proud to be the home for the new gateway.

“The whole school community has supported this project, which reflects our commitment to learning and celebrating Chinese culture and language,” he said.

This project is one in an annual sequence for the Melbourne School of Design in which other large structures will be donated for community use.

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