REBUILDING THE HOUSE
In 2017, an ambitious team of architects, teachers, and carpenters came together to disassemble a farm house in Cizhong. The deconstruction work took place over the course of one week. The disassembly was led by a team of four ethnic Bai carpenters--Masters He, Zhao, Shi, and Yang– and assisted by the U.S. crew of Martin Fair, Steve Steinbach, Alison Steinbach, Nikhil Chaudhuri, and John Flower. This documentary, made by Peng Yong, records their journey.
Since 2019, we have been hard at work rebuilding the China Folk House at the Friends Wilderness Center in Jefferson County, West Virginia. In the summer of 2019, members of the Timber Framers Guild in the Harpers Ferry area, high school and college students, and community volunteers worked together to reassemble the timber frame of the China Folk House. Since then, CFHR has continued to host "Camp Wholesome," a summer program for high school students to learn about Chinese folk culture by reassembling the homestead. Our work crew--Master Builders Jonathan Morrison, Mathieu Lamaure, Luke Bauer, and Master Gardener Zach Lester-- continue to work on designing and rebuilding the Folk House and courtyard structures throughout the year. In 2022, our goals are to grow an ethnobotanical garden, construct four bunk houses, and complete the commercial kitchen.
Check out our progress over the years!
In 2023, CFHR hopes to host members of the Jianchuan Craftsmen Cooperative to work alongside members of the West Virginia Timber Framers Guild to build the “Jianchuan Pavilion.” The "Jianchuan Pavilion" will showcase traditional building arts and will serve as common working, eating, and meeting space in a beautiful open-air shelter. Read more about Our Future here.
The CFHR team prepared the foundations for the original Tibetan kitchen and the new commercial kitchen that will be code and health department compliant. For three weeks in the summer of 2021, 28 students worked to raise the Tibetan kitchen, the last of the original structures and possible for students to work on because it is a manageable size. Students also finished the hempcrete walls in the upstairs of the main house, and finished restoring the interior wooden partition walls that completed the main house. Watch a short film documenting the Summer 2021 progress here.
We broke ground in the summer of 2019 with a group of thirty Sidwell and local students who cleaned, treated, organized the timbers, and raised the gate house and surrounding rammed earth walls. With that foundation work in place, a group of a dozen volunteers from the Timber Framers Guild, under the direction of CFHR’s two Master Craftsmen Jonathan Morrison and Mathieu Lamaure, worked for two weeks to raise the timber frame of the house and put it under roof by the end of the summer. Watch a short film documenting Summer 2019 progress here.
In 2022, the CFHR team started a vegetable garden under the direction of Master Gardener Zach Lester, finished the exterior of the bathhouse, built stone planters, and raised the first bunkhouse frame. Our goals for the remainder of 2022: finish the ethnobotanical garden, construct 3 more bunkhouses, and initiate the pavilion construction program. Watch a short film documenting 2022 progress here.
Over the fall and winter Jonathan and Mathieu built a structural frame, and in the summer of 2020 small “quarantine pods” of students worked through the summer and into the fall to finish the largest hempcrete wall in North America, covered with a layer of natural lime render. Hempcrete is an exceptionally “green” sustainable material that is actually “negative carbon”, absorbing more carbon from the atmosphere than is produced in its manufacture.
In 2018, the China Folk House found a new home at the Friends Wilderness Center (FWC) in Jefferson County, West Virginia. The FWC is a retreat center located on Rolling Ridge Conservancy, a 1,400 acre wilderness preserve. CFHR was established as a 501c3 non-profit.
The year it all began! In 2017, we dismantled the house at its original location in the village of Cizhong in Yunnan and shipped it to the U.S. Learn more about the house disassembly here.