Rebuilding Chinese schools destroyed by earthquakes – Zhu Jingxiang

Zhu Jingxiang, an associate professor of architecture at Chinese University of Hong Kong, joined the CUHK faculty in 2004 to concentrate on teaching and research after designing numerous schools, youth centers and hospitals in China.

He returned to building design when he saw television images depicting the devastation of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.

Jingxiang, interested in replacing rural schools destroyed by the tremor, designed a school building with a light-steel skeleton and lightweight materials for walls, instead of concrete or wood, that will withstand future quakes.

His innovative, modular design, far cheaper to build than a traditional steel and concrete structure, was rejected by a charity funding the construction of a new school in rural Sichuan but was eventually funded by a Hong Kong antique dealer.

The school was built in two weeks by Jingxiang and CUHK students after the building’s parts were delivered to the site. Three additional schools and a building in a Sichuan nature reserve were soon built using Jingxiang’s concept.

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