The Red Army Memorial Museum is located in the rural Bing’an Warf, a shoal in the middle of Chishui River, at the border between the regions of Guizhou and Sichuan, in South-West China. Nowadays, the village of Bing’an counts around 700 residents, and its long history dates back to the Ming Dynasty (17th Century). During Qing Dynasty (18th Century), it became an important business town and prosperous ferry terminal on the salt trade routes between Yunnan, Sichuan, and Guizhou.
Bing’an Red Memorial Technical Information
- Architects: West-line studio
- Topics: Memorial Museum, Vernacular Architecture
- Location: Chishui,Guizhou, China
- Completion year: 2009
- Building height: 11 m
- Photographs: © Jingsong Xie, © Martina Muratori, © Haobo Wei
Bing’an Red Memorial Photographs
Text by the Architects
The Red Army Memorial Museum (丙安红一军团纪念馆) is located in the rural Bing’an Warf (丙安滩), a shoal in the middle of Chishui River, at the border between the regions of Guizhou and Sichuan, in South-West China. Nowadays, the village of Bing’an counts around 700 residents, and its long history dates back to the Ming Dynasty (17th Century). During Qing Dynasty (18th Century), it became an important business town and prosperous ferry terminal on the salt trade routes between Yunnan, Sichuan, and Guizhou.
Bing’an is located on a deep ditch on dangerous cliffs, where there was not much flat land to build a proper town. But due to this particular location, at a strategic junction between South-West commercial routes, the town has been developing its own architectural style. Hanging stilted wooden buildings, 20 meters higher than the river level, take advantage of the mountainous layout, using 60 degrees dig angle. Bing’an master plan was arranged following a ‘fish-bone scheme, with a central commercial street cutting through the village.
At the very center of the village on this commercial street, West-line studio has been asked to restore a historic building to host the Red Army Memorial Museum. Due to the lack of maintenance over the years, architects found the building in horrible condition.
The whole building is made of wood, which is the traditional architectural style in Northern Guizhou villages. The Memorial Hall aims to hide between all the other wooden houses of Bing’an, creating a new and contrasting experience. The tenon-and-mortise structure (the main supporting system uses pine trees while the other parts are built with cedar wood) has been generally applied for anchoring vertical and horizontal wood. At the same time, wooden grafts are recycled from the old building in ruins. Outer walls use a 12 mm thick wood layer for both sides and a 30mm insulating layer. Outer wooden panels are recycled from the old original building.
To avoid the typical ‘boring’ atmosphere that usually characterized memorial halls, architects tried to read history through the architectural space. A dense assembly of vertical wooden sticks creates a strong atmosphere, emphasized by the roof lighting system. All those wooden lines ‘zoom’ the space in unexpected ways, screening and opening views along the exhibition route.
In contrast with the wooden architecture outside, this forest of lines creates a new order inside to display pictures and original documents. The dramatic use of colored lights coming from roof windows creates a bright/dark/bloody atmosphere, where the light, together with the obsessive presence of wooden lines, marks the space, remembering what ‘red memory’ is.
Bing’an Red Memorial Plans
Bing’an Red Memorial Image Gallery
About West-line studio
West-line Studio is based in Guiyang, Guizhou province, in South-West China, and exclusively works in this region. The practice was founded more than 10 years ago and has always been researching and working on contemporary vernacular architecture around the Karst geomorphologic area and local subcultures’ diversity.
- Design Team: Haobo Wei, Jingsong Xie, Ke Zhou
- Graphic: Martina Muratori