Erecting the structure for the Miaoxia Community Kitchen in July 2015.
The Last Ten Years of Traditional Craftsmanship in Miaoxia Village






craft, tradition, community development, workshop


This article reflects on the disappearing carpentry tradition in a rural village called Miaoxia in Sichuan Province China. Since 2015, villagers, social workers, architects, and university scholars have been collaborating to look for alternative development possibilities in Miaoxia Village. The idea of using the local carpentry tradition has been one of the key focusses in the process. Since the Chinese Economic Reform in 1978, the influence of urbanisation and market economy in China has led the Chinese government to rethink the value of rural customs and traditions. While the country has been encouraging progressive economic development, local making culture and development have subsequently been under threat. The collaborations between social workers and design professions in Miaoxia tested small-scale architecture interventions and educational workshops. These experiments have started to record and test out different ways to save carpentry traditions from extinction. This article outlines this process in Miaoxia and asks for new ideas to re-utilise this traditional making.

How to Cite

Kuo, J. Y. (2020). The Last Ten Years of Traditional Craftsmanship in Miaoxia Village. Cubic Journal, 3(3), 118–129.



Author Biography

Jze Yi Kuo, Shenzhen University

Kuo Jze Yi is an architect and researcher. His research focuses on participatory rural community development and sustainable rural building techniques. From 2015 until currently, Kuo has participated in eight community projects in rural China and completed ten community building designs that adapted traditional building techniques of timber frame, stone construction, cave construction, bamboo structure and building with local resources. He has also organised fifteen workshops in rural China, guiding 250 volunteers from different schools to document and explore traditional building culture. Kuo is currently the assistant professor of the Shenzhen University School of Architecture and Urban Planning and the visiting lecturer in The Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Design.