Architects: AZL architects
Location: Gaochun, Jiangsu Province, China
Project Team: Zhang Lei, Shen Kaikang, Zhang Ang
Collaborator: Gaochun Architectural Design Office
Project area: 580 sqm (Ye House) + 860 sqm (Wang House)
Project year: 2006 – 2008
Photographs: Iwan Baan
Based on local courtyard houses, the design evolved from the interaction of two brick houses with the surrounding landscape. Terracotta bricks were made from local clay with local knowledge, composing the structure and façades. Skilled village construction workers very familiar with the medium were able to facilitate the marriage of traditional savoir-faire with new and progressive design.
Three different textures of brick skin make up the façade. An interlocking pattern leaves perforations between bricks, and protruding bricks cast shadows along the wall. Windows punctuate the texture, and the brickwork along the edges of these portals further develops abstract geometric relations while remaining loyal to the structural logic.
Relying entirely upon local materials and workers, the project was able to be built for the unusually low budget of 80 euros per square meter. The client is a famous poet in China, and invested much time into the process and worked in cooperation with the architect.