In 2018, Chinese architect Zhang Lei (AZL Architects) completed the Song House in Nansong Village, Fengxian. Commissioned by a retired electrical engineer, the 280‑sq.
metre house, built in his native village, accommodates the four generations that now make up his family. A way, says Zhang Lei, to revive ‘hollowed-out‘ villages.
Interviewed by Yên Bui
L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui: While in the year 2000, only seven per cent of Chinese people were 65 years old or over, this percentage has risen to 11% by 2018. As an
architect, how can your profession react to the ageing of global populations?
Zhang Lei : China is becoming an ageing society, but in large cities there is often a shortage of facilities for the elderly and they are unaffordable. On the other hand, a large number of old people living in ‘hollowed-out’ villages in the suburbs lack social interaction. It takes some time and effort to effectively utilise idle resources to rebuild a healthy living community for the elderly, and to create a way of living that pre-empts physical or social isolation.
Read the full interview in AA’s 434th issue – Getting old – avalaible in our online shop.