Yap Jit Ning, Amanda
宝穴: A Hidden Treasure

Thesis Supervisor: A/P Bobby Wong

Site: Xinjiang, China

The Chinese state has long faced accusations with regards to their mistreatment of Xinjiang uyghurs at these re-education schools. Internet vigilantism, namely from the West, have been using satellite images to track, record and document their findings as evidence. Thus, acting on behalf of the Chinese government, the architecture project is a winery that is designed with the very intention of transmitting a message for a satellite image.

Located amognst the flourishing grape fields in Turpan, Xinjiang, the architecture embodies the seemingly unthreatening formal Chinese characters of 宝穴 hidden treasure along the mountain ridges.

By harnessing the unpredictability of dust events that occur within the region, the morphology of the architecture thus a reflection of the Chinese’s innate modest characteristics of indirect confrontation - that messages are transmitted with great subtlety. As the architecture is subsumed by nature, a new message emerges and is captured by the satellite - 王八 or simply, bastard.

 

The West is thus tasked to determine the true meaning of the message - whether it was simply a comical farce, an accidental mishap or an intentional lambastment. Yet, only those who are truly familiar with the Chinese culture and language can understand this hidden treasure. 

Extensive information can be extracted from satellite images - from the changing of seasons, the construction sequence of a infrastructure, to the littlest details of building height and opening sizes - which then remains in the virtual space, leaving a permenance in across time.

The architecture emerges from the existing fissures of the mountain ridges, tapping on the seasonal flow of water that runs through it. The natural fissure is than formalised, with accessways that punctuate its walls for movement.

 

The interiority of the space is thus a reflection of the exterior climatic shifts of dust events and temperature changes. As with the accretion of sand on the surface, the peforated patterns changes in tandem, yet remains shielded and serene in the face of the forces of nature.

Capitalising on the natural terraformer of the site, the winery production is submerged within the landscape to allow for better temperature control. At the top, water is captured, stored and treated for the various processes of the winery.

Tapping on the centralised flow of water, water pipes protrude from within the fissures. It is then transported up to the perforated metal exterior of the building, with sprinklers located within the layered gaps. The dampened facade thus allows for the accretion of sand to begin.

Beyond the use of the natural terraformer of fissures and climatic conditions of dust storms, the thesis postulates the propensity of satellite imageries as a medium for cultural transmission while revealing their inherent distinctions. It further questions the hypocrisy propogated by the West and making apparent their continuous consumption of Chinese goods and services, regardless of their production methods.