In Dec 2018, AA PhD Alumni Dr. Jingru (Cyan) Cheng received a commendation from the RIBA President’s Awards for Research 2018 with her work titled ‘Care and Rebellion: The Dissolved Household in Contemporary Rural China’. This work is part of her PhD by Design thesis ’Territory, Settlement, Household: A Project of Rural China’ supervised by Pier Vittorio Aureli and Sam Jacoby at the AA.
Cyan started her PhD research on rural China from the perspective of an architect. However, in her words, ‘towards the end, I have felt more and more strongly about what I find out through research – rurality as an elastic form of association – from the perspective of being Chinese.’
She identifies ‘the associational relationships [which] manifest themselves through minor details and insignificant moments in the practice of everyday life – through how people act, speak and do their chores’ – as elastic, confessing that, methodologically speaking, this has also made her increasingly drawn to the intersection between architecture and anthropology as well as to design ethnography.
Cyan argues that derived ‘from the deeply embedded elasticity, the dissolved household in contemporary rural China anticipates some of the global discussions around alternative forms of social relationships beyond the family norm, especially in relation to the network of care, the intergenerational living and the ageing society. In this sense, rural China is at the forefront of global challenges.’
More information can be found at: https://www.architecture.com/awards-and-competitions-landing-page/awards/riba-presidents-awards-for-research/2018/care-and-rebellion-the-dissolved-household-in-contemporary-rural-china.
Image Caption: The Yard in Liu Brothers’ Family House, Shigushan Village, Wuhan, China, 2016 © Jingru (Cyan) Cheng