Hakka Indenture Museum/

DnA_Design and Architecture


Project Details



Shicang Village / China



Year (Design/Construction):

2015 / 2017

Area (Net/Gross):

- / 674.5 m2
Operational Carbon emissions

Operational Carbon emissions (B6) kgCO2e/m2/y:

Embodied Carbon emissions

Embodied Carbon emissions (A1-A3) kgCO2e/m2:

  • Use of locally sourced stone as the main construction material for the structure and walls of the building.
  • The design is integrated on the slope of the mountain, blending into the landscape by way of the stone walls and roof gardens.

Project description as provided by the Architects.

“Hakka”, meaning “the guest people”, immigrated to Shicang over 150 years ago and settled in with their rich Hakka heritage and systematic Hakka indenture culture, the law and keystone of Hakka society. The collection of Hakka indenture in past decades by a local elementary teacher, Mr. Que, has become the biggest Hakka indenture collection and an important archive for Hakka heritage. 

In fact the village name of “Shicang”, meaning “stone storage”, comes from a folk legend that a magic grain cave was broken into and no longer produced grains but only stone, a broken of covenant between greedy human and magic spirits.

The museum volume sits on a terrace field and follows the original irrigation drainage from the mountain into the village. The building could be accessed from both sides with a welcoming outdoor plaza to invite villagers and visitors.

The building plan is carried out with three exhibition rooms along the drainage, and local stone construction is used as building structure and retaining wall for the mountain. The interplay of indoor and outdoor, dark and light, void and volume, not only to remind an unique experiment of local multi–courtyards houses, but also to create an archaeological site contemplating village history and spirit of indenture.

A linear gap on the roof collects water from rain through the drainage to indicate a passage; the articulation of this roof gap can only allow direct sunlight into drainage during noon. A mist system is implanted to spray only around noon during the summer days. The heat and mist create a moving rainbow phenomenon when walking inside the museum. 

The supporting program is distributed into adjacent village buildings as a preservation strategy. A private sector from Shanghai has engaged in this development by continuing to renovate houses into home kitchens and food workshops, home stay business, and other activities. These supporting facilities became part of the indenture museum. In other words, the whole village is a live museum for Hakka culture and heritage.

Architecture Design: DnA_ Design and Architecture

Principal Architect: Xu Tiantian

Lighting Design: Zhang Xin Studio, Architecture Department of Tsinghua University

Photographer: Wang Ziling

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