VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE AS A FORM OF RESILIENCE IN CHINESE COUNTRYSIDE TRANSITION. EVIDENCE FROM A RURAL SETTLEMENT IN THE FUJIAN PROVINCE
Chinese rural settlements face different critical challenges in the current framework of rapid transformation. Tangible and intangible elements related to the traditional spatial organisation of siting and living are threatened by a socio-economic transition which appears to be indifferent to local specificities. Such aspects express and shape the rural built fabric, which shows no resistance to the pressures of both planned and spontaneous development. The few exceptions are mainly represented by the survived vernacular architectures, whose function goes beyond practical uses, such as the ancestral halls. Their spatial principles persisted in the malleable rural patterns, making such buildings the physical carrier of local traditions. This paper takes a rural village in the Fujian Province, China, as a paradigmatic case study to explore the settlement pattern’s degree of resilience. The data collected in two years of fieldworks allows authors to assert the prominent role played by the fifteen ancestral halls of the village. After introducing the current patterns of change, with a focus on the phenomenon of rural hollowing, the paper emphasises both the spatial rules and the contextual relationships of vernacular buildings. In the conclusions, we remark their importance against the backdrop of current land use development, suggesting to reconsider the vernacular buildings as an alternative approach for more conscious and sustainable development.