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Liangzhu Design: “Ideal Forest” is a brand jointly created by Liang Zhu Culture as well as several friends to explore and discover more about rural life. Different from commercialized homestays, Ideal Forest focuses more on the courtyard lifestyle and the true meaning of life.
场地概述 Introduction of the Site
Ideal Forest · Lin Tong is located in a village which is only 3 kilometers away from the eighth wonder of the world —— Terracotta Warriors, and about 9 kilometers away from the famous Huaqing Palace of Tang Dynasty. Nestled against Li Mountains, the village overlooks Weihe River and abounds with pomegranates and persimmons.
The homestay is transformed from an abandoned house, which was built along a ditch and consists of three buildings facing east and enclosing a courtyard. The house is adjacent to farmland in the west and the main road in the east.
▽房屋原始状态 Original condition of house
The owner turned to Liang Zhu Culture, aiming to give new life to the old house and express nostalgia for the past. Zheng Liang and Chen Yanda, who call themselves “villager designers”, established Liang Zhu Cultural and Creative Design Co.,Ltd. in 2017. Recently, they’ve finished some rural construction projects including Lou Guang Xi Homestay, Baolong Village YSHQ Homestays, Jiupu Yizhan Homestay, Sulv Mountain Homestays, and Sulv Book Cafe in Liyuanping Village.
▽云裳花栖民宿集群—云裳铺子 Cloud Wing flower Habitat homestay cluster – Cloud Wing shop
▽位于沣峪村素履书咖 It is located in Fengyu Village
After communication, Zheng Liang hopes to create an ideal house with the owner in an cooperative way, which will provide accommodation for both the owner and the guests. Liang Zhu Culture participated in the operation of a homestay for the first time as a result of years of practice in this field and a good understanding of the business logic. In their idea, Ideal Forest symbolizes an attitude towards life: return to rural idyll, drinking warm tea in a simple house.
▽院内景观 In the landscape
On the site are three characteristic dwellings: the innermost cave dwelling was first built before 1960s; sitting in the middle is a double-tile-roofed house typical in the villages of the central Shaanxi plain; the bungalow at the entrance was built after the year of 2000.
▽民宿鸟瞰图 Aerial view of the B&B
▽局部鸟瞰 Local bird’s eye view
Though built in different times, the three buildings witnessed the changes of the family and connect the past memories. Thus, the designers tried to preserve the three buildings and created a well-organized space with both house and courtyard.
▽位于院落最西侧的窑洞 The cave dwelling at the westernmost side of the courtyard
▽建造过程中的窑洞 Cave dwelling during construction
窑洞 Cave Dwelling
Cave dwellings, an ancient residential form on the Loess Plateau in North China, are warm in winter and cool in summer due to their thick roofs and walls. The designers tried to keep the original earthen texture, only strengthening the interior structures. Three caves of different sizes serve as storeroom, mahjong room and meeting room respectively. The facade is built in the same masonry structure with the brick enclosure wall.
▽窑洞顶部是一条村路，左手边是农田 At the top of the cave is a village road, with farmland on the left
▽站在窑洞顶部望瓦房与平房 Standing at the top of the cave looking at tiled houses and bungalows
瓦房 Tile-roofed House
The attic of the tile-roofed house is well preserved for thermal insulation, and the tile roofs show a typical texture of rural dwellings.
▽瓦房 The tile
▽左手边为瓦房 右手边为平房，均作为住宿空间使用 Tile-roofed houses on the left and bungalows on the right are used as accommodation Spaces
The facade of the tile-roofed house is painted with “clay lacquer”, a mixture of straw, limestone, putty and binder, which was first used in Yun Shang Hua Qi Homestays.
▽云裳花栖的“泥土漆” “Clay Paint” for Yun Sang Hua Qi
In the construction of Ideal Forest, the “clay lacquer” is further improved with higher-proportioned straw, and the textural coating is avoided to save the cost.
▽改良后的“泥土漆”细节 Modified “clay paint” details
On the one hand, in the actual operation of rural architecture, many seemingly “smart” practices in the city are abandoned. A lot of architectural wisdom is derived from the collision with experienced villagers, which is clumsy but does not lose its individuality.
▽前景的芭蕉叶与墙面 Banana leaf and wall in the foreground
On the other hand, the new material features low cost and easy access, which is easily to popularize. It reflects the philosophy of Liang Zhu Culture: a successfully renovated rural construction will be a good example of using low-cost local material. The designers are constantly exploring and practicing in this field.
▽精致的细节设计 Exquisite detail design
At the same time, the texture of the material shows the warmth and naturalness that guests from cities are longing for. The design follows Liang Zhu Culture’s philosophy in rural construction: from the countryside and for the countryside.
▽2022年普里兹克建筑奖获得者弗朗西斯·凯雷代表作品：甘多小学 Francis Carlyle, winner of the 2022 Pritzker Architecture Prize, represented the project: Gando Primary School
Looking back at the announcements of the three laureates of the 2021 and 2022 Pritzker Architecture Prize, we can see the concept of “sustainable development” is constantly mentioned and all of them are adept at implementing this concept in poor areas with limited resources.
户外休闲区 Outdoor Recreation Area
The space between the tile-roofed house and the enclosure wall is defined as an outdoor recreation area, where four persimmon trees are planted to provide shade and shelter.
▽四棵火晶柿子树，当地植被 Four fire crystal persimmon trees, native vegetation
▽隔壁的土墙强化了翻新老宅与乡村的融入 The earthen wall next door reinforces the integration of the renovated house into the countryside
▽树下消遣 Under the tree a pastime
温泉汤池 Hot Spring Pool
Hot spring is a key part of the vacation. In the courtyard, the designers built a modern hot spring pool for guests to relax themselves.
▽汤池占据的位置 温泉水来自运输的天然温泉 The soup pool occupies the location of the hot spring water from the transport of natural hot springs
▽汤池与石榴树 Soup pools and pomegranate trees
The wooden frame of the pool reflects the design philosophy of Liang Zhu Culture, which not only integrates into the surroundings but also gives an impression of warmth and friendliness.
▽自然木板的汤池外框 Natural wood board soup pool outer frame
▽汤池一旁的石榴树 Pomegranate trees by the soup pool
The bungalow near the entrance were changed a lot. The roof was reinforced so that it can be used as an outdoor terrace and a staircase was added to the side of the bungalow to create an angular space. On a clear summer night, you can have a great view of the starry sky on the rooftop without tree brunches or light pollution.
▽平房庭院 Cottage garden
▽平房顶部露台 Bungalow top terrace
▽平房顶部露台的视角 View from the top terrace of the bungalow
▽平房屋顶与楼梯 Bungalow roof and stairs
The space below the staircase is used as the public washroom, while the bungalow and the tile-roofed house are living spaces with living rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms. The two interior spaces are decorated mainly in white with modern furnishings. The rafters at the top shows its rural style and increases the levels of the space.
The area adjacent to the staircase used to be a storeroom, but now it has been transformed into a semi-outdoor tearoom.
▽右上角为茶室位置 The top right corner is the tea room location
▽由仓房改建的茶室 A teahouse converted from a barn
The roof is overlaid with tiles, echoing the tile-roofed house in the middle. The space under the eaves is safe and comfortable for people to enjoy the snow in winter and listen to the rain in summer.
The large space between the two rooms in the east is designed into a courtyard, which is paved with stones and connected by a gravel path. Since there is a tradition of planting fruity trees in the courtyard in the countryside of the central Shaanxi plain, the designers transplanted a pomegranate tree here to serve as a symbol of health, fertility and long life.
▽两间房中间的庭院 The courtyard between the two rooms
▽庭院内的休息区 Sitting area in the courtyard
▽入口花园，中式园林的设计手法将视线有遮挡有延展，丰富了行走趣味 The entrance garden, the Chinese style garden design technique will cover the sight and extend, enrich the walking fun
▽院子里的石榴树 Pomegranate trees in the yard
In the context of rural construction in China, the present architectural design shows respect to the environment, to the local culture and to human beings. In addition, it connects the urban and rural lifestyles and encourages their interaction.
In the construction and renovation of the rural areas, Liang Zhu Culture is always looking for a special moment hidden behind the universality. To make it easy to understand, the designer Zheng Liang takes Chinese Wind Culture as an example. A wine maker stored some wine in the cave at the birth of his daughter, and took it out to treat guests in the wedding party. In Zheng’s opinion, wine serves as a connection between people, and the same is true for space, which is to carry the memories of individuals.
Project: Ideal Forest, Lin Tong
Completion: June, 2022
Area: 600 m2
Location: Nearby the Terracotta Warriors and Horses of Qin Shihuang Mausoleum, Lin Tong District, Xi’an, Shaanxi
Design by: Xi’an Liang Zhu Cultural and Creative Design Co.,Ltd.
Address: Room 1138, Building A, Eurasia International, Chanba Ecological District, Xi’an, Shaanxi
Chief Designers: Zheng Liang / Chen Yanda
Text by: Gao Dazhuang
Client: Ideal Forest (Shaanxi) Operation and Management Co.,Ltd.
Collaborators: local villagers
Photos by: Liang Zhu Culture / Wu Chenghuan
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