Rural-urban migration in China is at an all-time high, with experts estimating an influx of 243 million migrants to Chinese cities by 2025. In a bid to combat this wave of migration and raise living standards for farmers, Stefano Boeri Architetti designed Slow Food Freespace, China’s first Slow Village that follows the philosophy of the Slow Food Movement. The Slow Village pilot project will be presented this week at the 16th Venice Biennial.
Founded in Italy in 1986, the Slow Food Movement has grown into a worldwide campaign that promotes local food, traditional cooking and sustainability in agricultural economies. Inspired by this vision, Stefano Boeri Architetti created a Slow Village program for China that comprises three cultural epicenters — a school, a library and a small museum — that would be built in each village and serve as hubs for disseminating farming knowledge and celebrating each area’s unique cultural characteristics.
“We easily forget that the rural areas provide sustainability to our daily lives,” Stefano Boeri said. “It is an inevitable necessity of architecture to confront the speed of evolution while also feeding it with the richness of the past. For this reason, we have proposed to enhance the agricultural villages with a system of small but precious catalysts of local culture, able to improve the lives of the residents.”
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The first Chinese Slow Village will be located in Qiyan, in the Southwest province of Sichuan. Stefano Boeri Architetti China will provide its services pro-bono for the design and construction of the first pilot system, including the library, school and museum. Likened to a “single organic accelerator,” the three buildings will teach about the preparation, consumption and supply of food, as well as ancient and deeply rooted food traditions. The Slow Villages are also expected to spur and accommodate tourism. The Slow Food Freespace presentation will take place at the Venice Biennial on May 25, 2018.
Images via Stefano Boeri Architetti