Architects: Tao Lei Architect Studio
Location: Benxi, Liaoning Province, China
Site Area: 5,000 sqm
Project Area: 3,000 sqm
Project Year: 2008-2010
Photographs: Courtesy of Tao Lei Architect Studio
This project, including multiple functions such as residence, studio and gallery, is specially designed for Mr. Dazhong Feng who is a prestigious artist in China. The site is located at the downtown area in Benxi, Liaoning Province, facing mountains which turn into the best landscape view for this project. With the aim of relieving the conflicts between the fast pace of urban lifestyle and the peaceful mind of the artist, this project is intended to create a harmonious internal space and interaction between nature and architecture. The building is neither constructed for public nor purely for private purpose. Therefore, it not only requires a quiet living space for the artist but also a dynamic gallery space for visitors. As a whole the building is filled with profound cultural experience.
1) The AO (凹) shape
The building is inspired by the Chinese character 凹, which also means concave. The shape is a cube with all side roofs inclining downwardly to the centre. Three inter-connected yards create the atmosphere that all views are pulled into the internal of the building. This concept also coincidentally matches a traditional Chinese housing design mode. The roofs are designed to blocks out the vision of buildings surrounded so that when people standing at the platform in the middle of the rooftop, they can only feel the sky, the moon light, themselves, and the time passing by.
2) The inner court yards
Within the brick cube, the artistic creation of the book yard, the bamboo yard, and the mountain yard has made the interior space unique and full of surprise while the exterior is stable and serious. These yards are like Chinese lantern lightening the rooms surrounding them and creating a dramatic atmosphere. This design origins form traditional Chinese building mode and culture but using a modern way of expression and regional criticism to reconsider traditions, which lead to the result of an oriental modern architecture.
3) The brick skin
Since the site is located in the north-eastern China, thermal insulation becomes crucial. A custom-made 600mm long brick can solve this problem and the colour makes people feel warm. Being different from the roughness and hard character of the single brick, the skin is specially designed as a translucent coating which has opening grew out and faded away. It forms into a network of tension and blurs the boundary between interior and exterior.
4) The twin walls
The twin walls create the entrance of the building, also acting as the courtyard walls that clarify the boundary. The inner wall that is parallel to the building uses the same design method as the translucent building skins. The outer wall is solid and draws the boundary line of the site. These twin walls form a triangle water garden pointing to the entrance and the concrete entrance extends out from the walls creating a sculpture-liked space.