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DL Atelier：At the end of 2020, near the Great Wall at Shuiguan in Huairou, Beijing, we designed three projects for Xiaoxi B&B simultaneously, perhaps it is more appropriate to call them rural hotels than B&Bs.
游戏民宿B&B and Games
I have designed and run such hotels before, and I would love to have a unique living experience of “breaking away from daily life” and a lifestyle of “here and now”. Architecture, as a carrier of this conception, is not a “home building” in the first place, for it holds little real life and memory of the owner, instead it resembles a “theme park” with the characteristics above, a reciprocating game between reality and fantasy.
Since it is a game, there must be rules. The owner’s requirements are simple: to keep the characters of the three existing houses. And we will make up the rules.
危险长城 The Great Wall and the Danger
The site is unique with the Great Wall from the Ming Dynasty close at hand. The strong characteristics have become an attraction that cannot be ignored, which makes me more or less reluctant.favysaxz
My habit is to look for the emotional relationship between things and people. Yet how is the Great Wall touching? Through its superhuman existence. It does not originate from human’s willings to talk to God like the Egyptian pyramids or the Nasca Lines. The Great Wall comes from “danger”. Out of the fear of “danger”, we chose the most “dangerous” mountain. This energy and courage powerful enough to change something as great as the earth, even though we have known it from an early age,still fantasize us by this expected surprise when we face it.
Therefore, to create a little “danger” provocation in the construction of settling down architecture makes me interested. Will it bring some different stimulation and strength? I don’t know, but I’m curious.
So we set the game as three small attempts about “danger”.
▽场地整体平面布局 Overall layout of the site
▽危险关系概念图 Hazard relationship concept map
Harrier Castle is an extension of the Great Wall built during the Wanli period of the Ming Dynasty. “Beijing knot” route must pass through these narrow roads. Since ancient times, raptor birds have often haunted it, thus it got its name. After losing its military function, more than a dozen families still live in it. Although the houses have been rebuilt repeatedly, the 600 years old castle stone and 300 years old ancient locust tree still stur our mind with the signs of old times.
Along the three meters wide country road, the stone castle wall can be seen from a distance. The wall is four to five meters high with an arched doorway in the south. The ancient locust tree straightly face the castle gate, but our house is not easy to find. Turn left and right, it hides at the end of a narrow lane.
In a game, “danger” should also be hidden at first, and ease and sureness are the beginning of the game experience.
▽改造前场地鸟瞰 Aerial view of the site before the transformation
▽城墙拱门 Wall arch
▽剖面概念 Section concept
▽项目鸟瞰 Aerial view
场景一：留一盏灯 Scene 1: Leave a Light
At the end of the narrow lane is the gate of the courtyard, behind which a small attic is built on the roof. In the evening, the pink interior wall reflects the red light, which makes the attic look like a lamp, hanging between the gate and the beacon tower, waiting warmly.
In The Grand Master, every time Ye Wen came home late at night, he would always see a light that his wife left, which meant that someone was there. This is a tacit understanding, and also represents life and home.
▽改造前后的院落门口 The courtyard gate before and after the renovation
▽屋顶阁楼 Roof attic
▽温暖的傍晚时分 It’s a warm evening
场景二：静卧闲看 Scene 2: Reclining and Watching
Entering the gate, the original courtyard was empty, so we let the eaves of the building stretch out to form a spacious corridor, which is suitable for sitting under it. The lowered eaves, on the one hand, offer a more stable atmosphere , and separate the upper and lower indoor view. The upper frame view overlooks the Great Wall, and the solid wood open fans below present a sense of warmness and form a connection with the yard. The height of indoor furnitures is lower, and the place where people sit or lie down even sinks down to be closer to the ground, offering a quiet view out of the window. Lower your posture, change your perspective, and perceive the beauty of more possibilities with your body.
▽建筑改造前 Before building renovation
▽建筑改造后 After building renovation
▽室内空间 Interior space
▽透过落地窗看向庭院 Looking out into the courtyard through the French Windows
▽庭院夜景 Courtyard night view
场景三：邀入古槐 Scene 3: Invitation to Ancient Locust Tree
I particularly like the ancient locust tree in the castle and am willing to invite it into the yard. The eaves on the west side were adjusted to a proper height that not only shielded the clutter but also exposed the crown of the tree. The surrounding buildings are covered with silver metal corrugated perforated plates, which flicker vaguely and purify the background. The two-story small building on the east side completely opens up above the corrugated boards. With no other plant decoration in the courtyard, the ancient locust’s green shadow in the glass curtain wall becomes more prominent, attracting people to climb up the building to enjoy its view.
▽庭院改造前 Before courtyard renovation
▽庭院改造后 After courtyard renovation
场景四：独上危楼 Scene 4: Climbing the Dangerous Building Alone
How to get up and down the small building? How to enclose the courtyard with the porch? How to become the focus of the landscape? How to build a place to travel and rest? How to even stir up “danger” to satisfy my personal interest? The burden then falls on this staircase.
▽楼梯概念 Staircase concept
▽庭院独具特色的古朴楼梯 The courtyard has a unique antique staircase
▽庭院改造前 Before courtyard renovation
▽庭院改造后 After courtyard renovation
▽楼上空间 Upstairs space
After studying the traditional theory and craftsmanship, we adopted the method of changing the scale and shape of stair steps to meet the requirements of climbing and staying at the same time. What is slightly different is that the construction of wood borrows the way of ancient building roof truss, because I hope it could look somehow like the ruins of a collapsed house, and even a dead ancient tree is intertwined in it, which adds to the sense of absurdity. Imagine the scene of Liang and Lin leaning on the beam of the PuHua Temple, and the men and women taking photos here, I’m not sure whether it’s a tribute or a joke.
▽人与楼梯与场地的互动 The interaction between people, stairs and the site
The climb up the stairs is rather smooth, but people still need to be careful when going downstairs. The aging wood blurs the sense of boundary of the stairs, which makes people unable to easily take a step, and also dispels the fear for falling and injuring. Because of this “dangerous” prompt, people have to pay more attention to the only thing in front of them. The charm of whole-heartedness is picked up at this moment. The overlapping of the boards seems to form a certain reverberation with the sound of steps falling onto the stairs. Meanwhile more people would choose to sit quietly on it and watch the Harrierfall.
▽楼梯细节 Staircase detail
破坏整体 The Wholeness after Destruction
The deliberately created “danger” stimulates the atmosphere of “stability”, instead, it becomes quieter and slower here, and the part “destruction” brings out the overall “stability”, which is an unexpected gains.
Indeed, I prefer the sense of steadfastness of settling down rather than climbing up, when I put my surroundings and inside feelings into it.
The mountain and forest, the Great Wall, the ancient locust tree, the temperament, and ourselves are collected, condensed, and landed. What we accidentally let go might just be the most needed return.
▽一层平面 1F Plan
▽二层平面 2F Plan
Location : HuaiRou, BeiJing
Owner: Xiaoxi B&B
Area: 266m2 of land and 207m2 of buildings
Cost: 1.1 million (including landscape and interior decoration)
Design: DL Atelier
Architecture/interior/landscape: Liu Yang, Ding Yuewen, Hu Mohuai
Structure: Gao Xuemei, Li Ping
Electricity: Hou Yanming
HVAC: Guo Haifeng
Video: Zhu Yumeng
Photo: Zhu Yumeng , Xi Youji Studio, DL Atelier
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