Pergola in Luotuowan village made from waste wood

| 14 : 00 – 03 January 2019 |


LUO Studio design and build a pergola in a scenic mountain village made from waste wood based on ‘dymaxion’ design philosophy.

Resonating with rural construction technique, Architect Luo Yujie and his team designed a flexible wavy pergola blending with the Taihang mountains. 

waste wood pergola, night view, photography, Luo studio

Taihong mountainside around the village and pergola

Constructed on a long but narrow scarp, the pergola is made of wooden beams and rafters sourced from renovated village houses. The original plan was to build the shaded pergola on concrete columns with heavy steel frames. This plan was scrapped due to unfavorable conditions and the architects proposed a timber framework to enhance stability. The result was a shaded pergola made of varying lengths of timber which became a communal space for people of all ages. The built structure communicates its strong understanding of a material use while respecting surrounding environment.

waste wood, pergola, children playing

Village children playing under the pergola

From the Architects – 

1. Wood waste remained from demolition and construction

Located in Longquanguan Town, Fuping County, Luotuowan village borders Shanxi Province, at the foot of northern side of Taihang Mountains. Surrounding mountains resulted in transportation to village, which held back village’s economic development causing increased number of dilapidated houses. In recent years, however, the local government has allocated plenty of financial and material resources. This was used in renovation and construction of houses in the village and helps it shake off poverty. After unremitting efforts, quality of villagers’ life has been gradually improved.

Location of the village and shaded pergola

Before the renovation, villagers were allowed to choose a traditional wooden roof or roof made of cast-in-situ concrete for house. The latter solution was more preferred because of easier implementation and most of residents here were middle-aged and elderly people. During the village revamping process, a large number of wooden beams and rafters were dismantled and left over.

Unused and dismantled wood being processed by villagers

Previously, the wood waste had been used to make fire for heating and cooking. But in these days, due to the call for ecological environment protection and forest fire prevention as well as the fact that air source heat pumps and gas equipment for cooking were introduced into the village, the dismantled woods of various sizes were left unused.

wood waste, analysis, diagram

Analysis of the wood waste from the village house

2. Shade pergola over the scarp from waste wood

The village was built through reclamation of mountain and wasteland, so there were many slope protection structures and scarps. Villagers intended to have a shade pergola over a long scarp with cement column piers along both sides, for them to have a rest in the shade.

Narrow but long scarp shaded by pergola

According to the original plan, heavy square steel bars and large timbers were identified as main construction materials. These material needed to be purchased and transported from faraway county or city markets. Also it required a professional construction team and utilization of crane.

Original and revised plan showing ‘dymaxion’ construction details

Flat area at the site was too narrow to operate heavy machinery, which meant it was dangerous for people and livestock once accidents occurred. When we happened to see design drawings of this project, we suggested to work out a simpler and more convenient solution for construction.

Elevation of the road with respect to natural topography

3. Dymaxion & best use of materials

Richard Buckminster Fuller summed up his concept on technology and human development: “dymaxion”, which means maximum gain of advantage from minimal energy input. As for construction activities, “dymaxion” can be interpreted as “building the largest space and the most solid structure with minimal material use”.

Layering materials of the pergola

The design philosophy of “dymaxion” actually resonates with the concept of rural construction. Nowadays, many Chinese villages present a unique built landscape, which was created by  generations of villagers who had the wisdom to make use of local materials and maximize functions with minimal input.

Miniature model showing process of combining the elements

Materials for construction units were designed as small as possible, so that more wood waste could be reused and the construction work could be carried out by villagers themselves. Wooden rod units constitute the structural system, which enhances stability and obtains a larger space. The structure features grids that improve its performance in withstanding forces of nature, hence ensuring greater safety for a long period of use. With such construction scheme, we saved costs and improved efficiency.

Interior elements of the pergola made from waste wood

4. Conforming to wood materials is following nature

We kept varying lengths of wood materials, and worked to create a structure that is well integrated with the surrounding mountains. Wooden rods were reclaimed from demolished houses of various depths, so the lengths of these woods were different.

A villager passing under the pergola

We didn’t cut or lengthen any wooden rod. In stead, we took into account the tolerance of length variation and ingeniously arranged the position of each wooden unit. In this way, a flexible pergola structure which conforms to materials as well as the mountainous surroundings was created.

View of pergola from north-east corner along the road


Community space for all

waste wood, wooden pergola, Luo Studio, China

Mountain view along the pergola

Project details – 


Project name – Pergola in Luotuowan Village – Reuse of Wood Waste from Renovated Old Village Houses

Location – Luotuowan Village, Longquanwan Town, Fuping County, Hebei Province, China

Architect Firm LUO Studio

Lead designer – Luo Yujie | Participating designer – Lu Zhuojian

On-site designers – Wang Zhenqi, Li Mingchu, Wei Wenjing

Project type – Rural facility, Community space

Photography  – © Jin Weiqi |

Completion Year – September 2018

Construction Area – 274.3 sq. m.

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