Key Dates

14 July 2022 - Launch Deadline
19 October 2022 - Standard Deadline
13 January 2023 - Extended Deadline
17 January 2023 - Judging
9 February 2023 - Winners Announced

Image Credit : Images 1-6, and 8 are credited to Arch Exist Photography Studio. Image 7 is credited to Principal Architect Lu Yun. Images 9 and 10 are credited to MUDA-Architect.


Project Overview

The Minjiang Village Courier Station is located in the Wenjiang District along the Beilin Greenway as a part of Chengdu's rural regeneration project. With numerous tourists attracted by the Linpan settlements in Sichuan Basin, the courier station is designed to provide tourism services as well as a social and commercial space for the residents. We source local materials and construction crew to minimize environmental damage while making use of the beautiful surroundings and convenient location. In the meantime, we constructed a red gem-like cube to complement the surrounding scenery, providing texture, contrast, and warmth to the incredibly magnificent environment using abstract geometric forms and fair-faced concrete.

The layout of the courier station is a modest yet adaptable solution that accommodates the changing requirements of the rural community. Contemplating the aspects of rural life and living situations, a plaza for community gatherings, demonstrations, recreation, and leisure delight is provided. Drawing influence from the vernacular architectural form, we built two levels of semi-outdoor 'grey space’ on both facades for residents to enjoy valuable sunlight in the Sichuan Basin.

To provide vitality to the area, the arching arcades are designed in an inviting gesture, and the warmth of the architectural colour contributes to the contemporary rural villages' imagery of hospitality. The distinctive colour collision between the building and the natural landscape is a response to Western Sichuan’s lively, enthusiastic and cosy character, as well as an expressive interpretation of the city of Chengdu.

Project Commissioner

Minjiang Village Joint-stock Economic Cooperation Association

Project Creator



Principal Architect: Lu Yun
Design Team: Li Aidong, Xu Jiandan, He Fan, Wei Ke, Li Hao, Lu Chenyu, Rong Dian, Zhan Ziqi
Construction document company: Chengdu Yuzhan Architectural Design Co., Ltd
Building construction design team: Yu Fan, Zhang Yuanyuan
Structural design consultant: Yuki.Law

Project Brief

Minjiang Village Courier Station as a rural revitalization project has a minimal budget. Considering the construction budget and astonishing environment, we decided to abandon the redundant architectural adornment and employ fair-faced concrete as the skeleton of the building to maximize the landscape experience within the strict low budget. By utilising abstract geometric space of contemporary aesthetics, the natural landscape is integrated into the architecture to the maximum, and a countryside multi-functional public place is created.

Influenced by its geographical location in Chengdu Basin, Chengdu people are sun-seekers and they rush out of interiors as soon as they catch a glimpse of the sun: drinking tea, chatting, and playing mahjong, or all of these at once. We developed the two-story "grey space" on two facades of the building by drawing inspiration from the classic Western Sichuan architectural style of Yanlang (Veranda), which is a semi-outdoor "grey space." The sliced red walls form a spatial sequence that connected the interior and external space, creating a sensually familiar, yet visually distinctive experience for people who are meandering around.

The Courier Station not only provides a reminiscent sense of local nostalgia but also portrays a unique architecture in sliced-wall sequences; The spatial behaviours here include leisurely chit-chat and rest, as well as industrial tradings to revitalize the countryside.

Project Innovation/Need

The locals are known for their hospitality and modesty, but how can these characteristics be imparted to the local architecture? After a series of discussions and attempts, "red concrete" has emerged as the keyword of the project. We conducted experiments on ten different ratios of concrete and iron oxide red to guarantee the outcome achieves the desired colour and texture, and we have finally confirmed a warm and bright red to present the architecture.

The centre of the structure is the inside stairway that connects the first and second floors. We hope to create two radically separate spatial experiences between the inside and outside spaces. Psychological perceptions vary when receiving different visual signals, we use colour to provide sensory contrast that intrigues curiosity and emotional interactions. While the building’s exterior exudes enthusiasm and energy, we opted for romantic oceanic blue to cover the whole staircase in the hope to infuse a profound romantic ambience within the building core.

When people enter the staircase from the all-red space, the blue stairway pacifies people’s sensations and creates a rapid sensual transition. Sunlight penetrates the area and creates a mysterious natural atmosphere. People will immediately return to a red space after leaving the stairwell, which is a delightful and unexpected aspect of the building's design.

Design Challenge

With a limited budget of 266,000 euros for the architecture, landscape, and surrounding infrastructure, MUDA chose not to pursue exaggerated forms, cutting-edge materials, or high-end craftsmanship. Instead, we shaped the identity of the courier station through pure geometric forms, using bold contrasting colours to highlight both the architecture and the landscape, and responding to the locality with vernacular materials and standard construction techniques.

In space design, we paid attention to the lifestyle of residents: we envision a distinctive contemporary architecture built by the locals, for the locals. The building ought to provide public space for various communal rural activities. We realized that Chengdu people are sun-seekers since sunlight is precious and rare in the Chengdu Basin. Additionally, we discovered that a Western Sichuan architectural element known as Yanlang (veranda) is what we now regard as a grey space, a semi-outdoor place that serves multiple functions for people to rest, gather, exercise, trade etc. As such, we adopt contemporary architectural language in traditional spaces, creating a rural plaza that is desired and affectionate by the locals.

After confirming the desired hue for the architectural body, we adopt cast-in-situ concrete and invite the local team to finish the construction. The villagers and the local crew collaborated to complete the project under the supervision of our architect on-site. The final outcome is inspirational and the architecture is accentuated by the enthusiasm of the residents.


For a low-budget rural project like the Courier Station, a very limited sustainable approach can be achieved. With the budget barely covering the architectural and infrastructure body, we add ion dioxide red directly to the concrete to create a fair-faced concrete skeleton to minimize future decorative costs. To reduce energy consumption, we employ double-glazed low-E glass for the curtain wall for thermal insulation. Pre-embedded HVAC and MEP system further reduces future interior expenditures as well.

To indeed provide a public space for the villagers, we designed the landscape and the interior flexibly. The first floor contains a front space and service counter designed with an intimate scale. One side of the bar counter is a rest area, while the other is an open exhibition area. The osmanthus wine brewed by the village, handicraft bamboo, and micro bonsai are displayed and sold here.

On the first level, numerous exits and entrances connect the inside and outside. Rural areas in China are largely populated by the elderly and pre-schoolers for the last few decades. The connection between the interior and exterior permits the children to play in the courtyard while the elderlies can supervise, which fosters a safer and shared community. The second floor realizes its versatility through flexible and mobile furniture. It provides light meals and rests functions as an extension of the first-floor space most of the time. when needed, it can also transform into a multi-functional room and conference room suitable for collective activities.

This award celebrates the design process and product of planning, designing and constructing form, space and ambience that reflect functional, technical, social, and aesthetic considerations. Consideration given for material selection, technology, light and shadow. 
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