Project Designer: Eason Zhu、Erhuan Chai
Design Team: Alex Lin、Qianlan Lu、Mary、Guanhang Jiang
Soft Design: TANS ART
Client: Jianhong Wu
Text description provided by the architects. When I walked into the deep forest of the Shenwang Line of Baofu Town, Anji, for the first time two years ago, I felt that life is was so nice, noiseless in the forest with the bird’s singing. As a designer who has been living and working in the city for a long time, the mountains, bamboo, water, fog, birdsong, and air have brought unprecedented feelings. The previous old houses, but now the guests come from afar. The team invested two years of hard work and time in this project.
This is the closest place to nature I have encountered since I started designing. The old house is located on the mountainside, the highest altitude, the climate is rich and diverse, the woods and bamboos are lush, and the mountain scenery in the distance. Getting along with the owner Mr. Wu who commissioned our design and has been the owner of the old house for decades. These temperature-related emotions seem to me to be the most scarce and valuable factor in the design process.
For such a remote project, the geographical location is so unique, and the development of the design will be relatively difficult that we should control the overall pattern, breadth, depth, cost, and various details. Initially, from filling, repairing, pouring, barriers, stone, planting trees, diverting water from the mountain to interior design, landscape design, soft furnishing. Owner Lao Wu has invested more energy than anyone in the past two years. During the process of design, he really supported and trusted us.
The original site has two buildings. One is an old, rammed earth structure that seems to have gone through decades of storms. The vicissitudes are exposed in the old wall and tiles. The other is a peasant house with only a basic structure that has not been completed. We were curious about the dialogue and collision between the two buildings. At that time, we planned the functions of the two buildings and used the life scene to connect this old and new buildings. The experience of an old house, the comfort of the new house. Certainly, what is most emphasized is the deep experience of nature. There are window frames and scenery in specific locations, and special temperaments and feelings created. The design of the rooms in the new building is simple and soft. The whole space is exquisite and gentle. Every space contains the scenery and the smell of the natural surroundings. A white building has a minimally clean wall, and the other one deliberately cut off the skin to reveal the rough texture of rammed earth. We made the new building float above the water, and the old building's performance is solid and full of spirit. Water can reflect the distant mountains well. When walking in space, the parallel view is visible.
Some of the materials can feel alive and slowly get older with time and air. It is precisely imperfect and simple but not too delicate. Mr.Wang participated in the construction as a worker. His emotional fluctuations are revealed , from perseverance, restlessness to joy and happiness. He and his wife still lived in the old building after the project was completed. They also had a private backyard, which directly access to the mountain. On the mountain, Mr.Wang planted many trees and raised many chickens. When I think of going up the mountain, Lao Wu prepares plenty of wine and delicious dishes. At that time, everyone's inner happiness was simple and real.
There is actually not too much design language here, and it is more interesting to streamline the process. The invitation way of the entrance is to detour to the back of the building through the boulder path. You can hear the water acoustic layers seeping into space without seeing the water. There is a bench at the entrance for guests to stay. Now that you have arrived here, let the pace be slower. In the living room on the first floor of the new building, the large floor-to-ceiling glass introduces the mountain view reflected in the water of the swimming pool, and the poolside cement and white walls stand silently. What I think is the best state of design for this land is to sit quietly on the sofa and feel the contentment and comfort outside the city where the sun shines into space.
The symbiotic relationship between the old and new buildings regarding nature and people, by using water as a medium, to connect with each other and using natural methods to complete natural spaces. This is the focus we concerned about. About the ambiguous relationship between sunlight and architecture and interior space, we wanted to embrace the sun and nature in a hugging manner, and therefore these feelings become so real. When you walk or rest in a certain corner of the space, you will find many surprises. These surprises are not straightforward. Through walking and exploring, you will find surprises prepared for guests by the space. Bamboo, tree roots, and rocks are all precious gifts in this mountain. What we do is just let these into space and become a part of the gene. This part of the gene is like the rammed earth old house. It is the witness of the story of the experience and participation.
I still remember that on the eve of preparing to open in 2019, the mountain experienced a flood. Lao Wu tried again and again to discharge the water that was poured into the mountain indoors, but in the end, there was nothing he could do, everything was a mess. A few days later, the sunny embrace filled him with warmth and determination to move on. I can still clearly remember the uphill scene at each stage, digging soil, building rock, planting trees, watching the pool water test space display trial operation. My friendship with my friend Hai Jian has also become stronger through his unrequited help for this project. I also deeply regret that I have forgotten the old friendship with Lao Wu and Lao Wang, and thank Lao Zhu for his dedication.
Everything here is suited to be the best place to avoid city life. I believe that over time we will return here every year, and drink a glass of hot wine with the host here, stop to listen to the nature that surrounds us, remember the construction and look forward to the beauty of the future design.