Drum Tower Project


Last term one of my instructors (the dean of the department) gave us a rather cool research project. It was pretty open in terms of content but we needed to choose a specific building and analyze the materials and construction processes. The project was designed for a pair of students to work together and I was lucky enough to work with my classmate, Wu Jiaxin.

While most of the other students choose modern buildings we both wanted to do something more traditionally Chinese. I also have the added hope of using some of the research for my thesis. That being said we chose the Dong Minority Drum Tower in Zengcong, Guizhou Province, which is a completely wooden structure (no nails, no metal) and is built using a huge variety of jointing techniques.


There are several types of Gulou (drum tower) and we chose the one in Zengcong because there was more information available on it but also because it is a fairly old structure and has been well kept in its original state. Most of my work on this project was directed towards building a detailed 3D digital model while my partner dug up our research and wrote out the project description, which I will be translating (at some point) so we would have the information in both English and Chinese.

We had the Chinese New Year holiday to finish up the project and turned it in this past week. I was extremely happy with the final product not only because of the time I invested in the modeling but because of the information I learned during the course of the project. One of the reasons I am so happy to be studying architecture in China is that I get to work with ancient historical buildings along with current modern structures. It certainly bolstered my self confidence as an architect to be able to build such a detailed model.

Below are some of the pages from our final write up. I hope you all enjoy it!

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Feel free to make a comment or share your thoughts. I would love to get some feedback on this project!



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