The Old House is indeed an old house in Shanghai
Thibault Le Marie & Charles Chao
Over the course of two years, these impressive wooden structures (comprising 460 large and ornate sections) were shipped (utilising the vast canal system of the Shanghai delta) and re-assembled (by traditional craftsmen) becoming the two main buildings that comprise the present ChengQing Hall. The next phase was to ‘house’ the wooden infrastructure; to aesthetically marry old and new. Thibault Le Marie, a famous French designer, was commissioned as the main designer, and Charles Chao, a famous geomantic expert, became responsible for the design of geomantic space.
The result: meditate in the calming space of the central courtyard as the sun caresses your face. Learn what it is to grow and nurture a flower serenaded by bird song from the surrounding trees. Experience tea with a tea master in a room made of camphor wood. Practice TaiJi with a music ensemble playing along to your movements. Paint, dance, eat, pray, drink, laugh then talk, consider. If history teaches us anything, it is to appreciate what’s now. And what is now, can be so diverse and varied!
From 2012 and bringing us to the present day, Ms. Chen Wenyu, who has a background as a curator and auctioneer in international antique auctions and art exhibitions, is the founder of Lakeside Community. Continuing, in a sense, the work of her family. The Chen family of ChaoShan in Guangdong are long-standing craftsmen and architects known for their work in regeneration, conservation and development.
The relocation of ChengQing Hall thus provides the solid base of an historical, charming, impressive and immersive space in which to host various consciousness-raising events, educational course facilities, traditional and practical skill-learning as well as all manner of artistic expressions and performances. The surrounding land is forested, with vegetable plots on land close to the waterway for transport; a leisurely paddle back to YangShe Village as herons glide ahead.
It is planned to create a modest archive of the village through the collecting of stories, memories of events and recollection of daily life of the residents of YangShe; an oral history with which to begin the future. To conserve stories as to preserve nature. We regularly organise volunteer groups to help us maintain and repair the natural environment.
Chen Wenyu, a Hakka born in Chaoshan
Chen Wenyu, a Hakka born in Chaoshan, firmly believes that no matter how the world evolves, a lasting architectural life must return to its roots and respect history, including the land where it takes root.