HSIEH Ying-Chun 謝英俊
” We wanted to encourage local people to join the reconstruction…The best therapy is activity. House-building takes a lot of energy as well as a lot of cooperation. Being involved in such an activity helps to eliminate the suffering caused by the disaster.”
In his socially engaged work Hsieh has been helping people rebuild their homes since the devastating earthquake in Taiwan 1999, when his reconstruction project for the Thao Tribe gained him international recognition. Hsieh organized the reconstruction of housing and communities in disaster-struck areas while faced with two challenges: to build houses within an extremely tight budget (25%-50% of the market price) and to base the projects on the notion of sustainable construction, green building, cultural preservation and creation of local employment opportunities. Hsieh has played a key role in rebuilding communities for Taiwan’s tribal communities.
In more recent years, Hsieh has continued to help people build their own houses, from the remote villages of China to the sufferers of the South East Asian Tsunami.
When we face the future challenge of environmental crisis, a one-dimensional technical thought process is inadequate; the considerations must be broadened to cultural, economical, and environmental levels.
Hsieh represented Taiwan in the Venice Architecture Biennale 2006 and Venice Biennale of Contemporary Art 2009. Hsieh is part of the architectural team WEAK! together with Roan Ching-yueh and Marco Casagrande. The WEAK! operates an independent architectural research centre Ruin Academy as their headquarters in Taipei.
The Curry Stone Design Prize 2011 was awarded to Hsieh Ying-Chun to champion the designer as a force of social change building more than 3.000 homes with local people in natural disaster zones in Taiwan and Mainland China.
Ying-Chun Hsieh, architect of post-disaster reconstruction
Interviewd by Chen-Yu Chiu.
The article “Architecture for People; Two architects from Taiwan” was published in Arkkitehti – Finnish Architectural Review 6/2015.
Ying-Chun Hsieh (b. 1954) studied architecture at Tamkang University near Taipei, Taiwan, graduating in 1977. In the beginning of his career, he worked for many years in construction before returning to the field of architecture. Following the massive 1999 earthquake, which killed almost 2,500 people in Taiwan, Hsieh took his office to the village of the indigenous Thao people to facilitate reconstruction work. Since then his studio, Atelier-3, has been working on several catastrophe sites as well as rural areas to promote cooperative, sustainable and social building methods. Ying-Chun Hsieh has been internationally recognised for his innovative projects that use design to address pressing social justice issues.