Being situated at 80 kilometers away northwest of Tiananmen Square, Yudu Mountain overlooks the flat Yanhuai Basin. South-facing Yanjiabu Village sits on the mountain slope, with its crowded fabrics and typical northern Chinese countryside appearance. Two courtyards which are located deep inside the village, are rented by client from twin brothers to be renovated into guesthouses. As the landlords, the twin brothers also have two requirements: first, the renovation must not join the two courtyards into one so to respect existing property boundaries; and second, courtyards’ main entrances’ location should not be changed due to ‘Fengshui’ reasons.
Guesthouses has been provoking hot topics in China in past years. Being looked from a certain perspective, the typology makes up the lacking opportunity for Chinese architects to build small residential building due to the country’s property system. Yet we take it not as a self-sustained countryside house, or a ‘skimmed’ version of resort hotels, but as an extension and remedy of urban living spaces. Therefore, we define this project as a ‘garden design’ instead of a ‘building design’- or we can say the so called ‘garden’ is but a larger ‘room’ after all.
We demolished ill-quality side chambers in both courtyards. However, the preserved south-facing main rooms are not ideal as living space due to its messy village view. As a result, we implant a north-facing ‘gloriette’ in each site as both living room and ‘anchor’ for collective activities.
The two gardens are fundamentally different although with somewhat resemble style. All activity spaces in south garden- includes a pool, an open cinema, and a meeting place with a semi-outdoor bar- are spreading across the site circling the gloriette, being surrounded by various sizes’ circular plant pools with high grass. As a mirroring image, activities in north garden are surrounding a centralized plant pools in the middle of the garden. This reverse strategy is hoped to differentiate two sites and provoke imaginative ways of using these outdoor spaces. The thriving, wild and vicissitude of plants, as well as energetic outdoor events, are merged as a colorful foreground for the ‘everlasting’ mountain scenery of both living rooms.
Project Name: Renovation Of The Da Shan Shi Ji’s House
Design Motif: Twin Gardens
Principals In Charge: Luo Ren、Zhao Yao
Design Team: Wang Nan、Huang Yuzhu、Zhang Chundong、Zheng Jiawei
Floor Area: 323.39㎡
Photography: ©Zhu Yumeng