The backbone project
Han Chang’an, Shaanxi province, China, year 2010

The Han Chang’an was a capital of China for 2004 years and is the beginning of the Silk Road. Nowadays, the area consists of 54 small 200 year old villages with factories and farming areas, around them and very little of visible historical remains are left. However people are not allowed to farm or build houses higher than two stories at the moment to avoid harming relics under ground. Local economy is weak and there is serious lack of water supply, garbage and drainage systems.
The project seeks to find an answer, how ancient history preservation can be connected with the contemporary needs of local communities. Villages of Wei Yang palace area were found at the square axis of historical palace walls. Walls were used for building materials, as streets or shelter. Project offers to revive “backbone” that has joined villages years ago by supporting nowadays needs of local people. Aqueduct of infrastructure with its physical presence will highlight historical remains and will attract more tourists to the area. It will be lifted up above the ground to save relics. At the same time it will supply villages with water and other utilities. It will improve public space and bring in more greenery in villages. Project also offers to improve mobility of area with new roads and development of existing street grid and reorganize housing, factory and farmland location to improve overall quality of environment of the area.

Authors: Didzis Jaunzems, Sylvain Donadieu, Joâo Bermudesi