In rural development, architects should respect local traditions and culture, encouraging more people to take part in building their community, and working in collaboration with them rather than against them, she says. (Photo provided to China Daily)
Xu has won acclaim for her work in Songyang, and many cities have turned to her for help. The mother of three lamented that she lacks the time to work on more buildings even as China puts a premium on rural vitalization and eco-friendly public buildings, throwing open huge opportunities for architects.
Her next project is to turn discarded dredging vessels along the Yangtze River into usable public spaces.
After graduating from Tsinghua University, Xu went to Harvard University. She worked for two architecture firms outside China and set up her own studio DnA_Design and Architecture in Beijing in 2004, focusing on public buildings. The first building she designed was Songzhuang Art Museum in the suburbs of Beijing.