The project is located in a residential community adjacent to a natural wetland in the suburb of Cangzhou. The design brief is to transform a series of retail spaces into a place to hold Zen meditation, yoga, and other related activities, providing the local resident with a tranquil retreat inside the community, responding to the image of the wetland landscape. However, a highway disconnects the natural wetland and the noisy commercial street where the out-to-be-quiet meditation space is situated. These mismatched spatial situations intrigued the architectural motive in the project. The original space of the single-storey shops was strongly defined by the linearly arranged columns and beams along the central axis. A series of spatial units containing different activities are scattered within this original spatial structure, forming the continuous yet circuitous public area, namely the passages and the water hallway. In these public spaces, one cannot perceive the original load-bearing structures. This, together with the hidden inner corner of space and the diffusive light, leads to the perception that space seems to flow without ends, forming a kind of outdoor experience. Whereas in the “inner” world – the entrance space, the waiting room and wardrobe, the main hall and private classrooms, the restroom – each chamber is defined by its scale and spatial quality respectively.
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