Date of Award

Spring 6-1-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master in Interior Architecture [Adaptive Reuse]


Interior Architecture

First Advisor

Jonathan Bell

Second Advisor

Markus Berger

Third Advisor

Julia Bernert


Di Keng Yuan(地坑院) are traditional cave dwellings in northern rural China, with a history of over 4,000 years of use. Today, living in Di Keng Yuan represents poverty and lower social status. Most Di Keng Yuan are ignored and abandoned by local people more interested in urbanization and the evolution of society. Yaodi Village is facing such a challenge of hollowing, meaning 1.young rural labor flows spontaneously into big cities, resulting in increased rural aging and 2.residents living in rural areas have gradually moved to the surrounding areas, resulting in the abandonment of cave dwellings, and the village is becoming a shell with no life. The original community has gradually lost its vitality. The architecture and social network of Yaodi Village are fragmented. In the past, the role of the Chinese village was to support rural life and produce, through planting and raising livestock, but now culture and tourism have become the two fastest-growing industries in rural China. People in cities are eager to return to the countryside to enjoy nature and recover a lost lifestyle. However, in many instances the countryside has been over-developed for tourism, resulting in the destruction of the original environment, local residents’ lives and traditional folk culture. The tourism experience under this development model runs counter to the original rural life and destroys everything it touches.

This thesis aims to formulate a new development model for rural tourism that forges connections between community members and beyond, between villagers and visitors. The concept of “rural acupuncture” is a sustainable way to revitalize Yaodi Village. Phased interventions that insert small-scale architectural functions into the village that relate to its historical context will introduce urban resources to Yaodi Village and improve conditions for long-time residents. By repairing and renovating Di Keng Yuan, I propose to boost tourism while maintaining the regional identity and create cultural experience. “Rural Revitalization not only constructs buildings in rural regions, it integrates the economic, social and cultural aspects and presents a more synthesized complexity.” Rebuilding communities holistically requires villagers and visitors to participate in the renovation activities together, in the process reclaiming ownership of their hometown. This will spontaneously lead to sustainable rural maintenance and development, perpetuating folk culture and facilitating exchange between urban and rural people. The transition to tourism of vernacular architecture is not the ultimate goal, but instead a way to revitalize the countryside and rebuild the regional identity of the local community.


View exhibition online: Shangyun Zhou, Rural Acupuncture



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