08 May Seaweed Bay Health Resort / Greyspace Architecture Design Studio
Seaweed Bay Health Resort / Greyspace Architecture Design Studio
Project Background. Fanjia Village is located in the Shidao Management Area of Weihai City, Shandong Province, of which the beautiful scenery of Shidao Bay Inner Lake is to the east. It is a typical northern-rank courtyard-style village. In recent years, Shidao has been guided by the policy of “one hundred miles of coastline, one scenic chain”. The “most beautiful fishing village” folklore display area, “ten miles of ancient township” cultural tourism combination area, “mountain residence sea rhyme” style experience area, “quality agriculture “Leisure and sightseeing area” four sections can be created, which can be dedicated to open a whole area of beautiful countryside tourism demonstration belt through the four beautiful countryside characteristic sections. Fanjia Village is located in the middle section of the demonstration section. With the construction of the overall scenic area and infrastructure along the coastline, the traditional village has been gradually demolished and the fabric around Fanjia Village has been gradually destroyed, and as of May 2020, it has largely disappeared, replaced by ranks and columns of boarded-up residential buildings and villa areas. The houses within Fanjia Village have also been left vacant, some of them decaying and awaiting new functions.
Issues and Challenges. Retaining nostalgia and allowing historical memories to coexist with modern life is the starting point of this design. On the one hand. On the other hand, the existing house layout system is a functional, barracks-style layout, and the site lacks recognition, land conservation, and the hierarchy of the courtyard space. How to adapt the space to meet the operational functions of the hotel while preserving the village fabric, courtyard space, and the pattern of the original village houses; at the same time, preserving and extending the openness of the public space and the continuity of the overall space while protecting the privacy of the hotel, is a major challenge for this design.
Materials and Construction: Continuity and Regeneration. The ancient dwellings of the seagrass houses are the most representative traditional dwellings in the Jiaodong region and are the result of long-term environmental and climatic influences. In the coastal area, it was rainy and humid in summer and snowy and cold in winter, so the main consideration for the dwellings was to keep warm in winter and protect them from rain and sun in summer. How the authenticity of the original seagrass huts was preserved, how the existing roofs were restored, new structures inserted, and how the building materials with regional characteristics were fully utilised and integrated was the focus of the construction of this project. The overall construction strategy returns to the essence of construction, focusing on the logical relationship between the building process and the finished form. The old house with its seagrass roof is restored to reflect the regional character; the new building with its flat roof highlights the pure masonry volume character. The old and new buildings are fused together through the same building materials and similar proportional relationships.
Seagrass Roofing. The seagrass used for construction is wild algae such as large-leaved seaweed that grows in shallow seas of 5-10 metres. It is very pliable and, due to its high content of brine and gum, is resistant to insects, mold and burning. “A seagrass house requires more than 70 processes, all of which are handcrafted.” Local masters familiar with the craft are brought in to guide the construction of the seagrass house, which follows five steps: preparation, making the eaves, thatching the slope, sealing the roof, sprinkling water and leveling the ground, reflecting the regional characteristics in their original form.
Masonry Walls. The walls of the preserved buildings maintain the original appearance of the buildings, either in the form of brick walls at the top and stone walls at the bottom, or complete stone walls from top to bottom. The newer parts of the building have additional stone masonry walls in order to maintain the integrity of the courtyard. The landscape elements are partially made of rusted steel plates and dark grey stainless steel panels to set off the handmade feel with an industrial feel. The stone walls are made from locally produced stone island red and are available in two types, flat seam and messy seam. In terms of construction, they follow some traditional local construction techniques, which are in the hands of local masters, and can only be built by one person for about one to two square feet a day, while messy seam walls are two to three square feet. This is a time-consuming and labour-intensive process, but it is a way of passing on traditional building techniques and a localised concept of village construction.
Clay Plastering. Clay plaster is used on both the old and new building walls, designed with a 2:1 ratio of white ash to rammed earth and using a special process technology to restore the architectural texture of the old mud walls, creating a unique lustre and cultural quality, with the same materials making the old and new buildings closely integrated. The hitching post on the wall is a continuation of the memory of the past seaweed house.
Place and location: Creating a New Type of Courtyard by the Northern Sea. The design surveyed all 26 of the current courtyards at the beginning of the design, identifying five of them of poor quality for demolition. The courtyards were combined, demolished and expanded to change the way the original units were put together and to better suit the needs of modern accommodation. The original building of 26 rooms was consolidated into 19 after the design was completed. The roofs of the remaining 19 courtyards after the transformation were all continued as seagrass house roofs, forming a complete seagrass house village.
The demolished open spaces form public courtyards, named Watering Courtyard, Tea Courtyard, Playing Garden, Swimming Pool, Health Garden and Field Garden. The three main roads and six courtyards form a network with easy access. Set up public buildings and supporting facilities around the public courtyard and other open spaces, such as a book bar, restaurant, cloth room, public toilets and tea room, to improve the hotel’s functions.
A variety of trees exist within the site, which is part of the residential character of the village and carries public memory, as well as being an important component of the site space, and are preserved in the design to form a unique landscape in conjunction with the courtyard in which they are located and to increase the differentiation between the courtyards. The site has an overall height difference of 1.7m in the north-south direction. The design does not want to reflect engineering practices such as retaining walls but strives to absorb the height difference by means of architectural elements. The difference in height between the courtyard and the street is resolved by means of a gentle slope, which is combined with the difference in height to deal with the drainage of the site; the difference in height between the courtyard and the street is resolved by means of a step in front of the gate and a landscaping sketch, forming a proximity scale, enriching the street space while increasing the difference in the courtyard experience.
Spatial Morphology: Types and Variants. The courtyard itself attempts to achieve a diversity of settlement forms with fewer modifications through the rules of organisation, combining its own characteristics to form groups of courtyards with differences in a unified prototype. The new restaurant, book bar, and tea room are built as open spaces within the B&B, on the base of the original courtyard units, using a similar composition to the original courtyard, enclosed on three sides, with the western side opening up to the entrance space of the B&B. The new section uses a glass curtain wall system, increasing the openness of the space while forming a dialogue with the old house in terms of materials.
The first courtyard was originally two courtyards, both triplexes, including the main house with the sloping roof of the seagrass house on the north side and the side and south side chambers. The design removes the side chambers of the east house and locates the entrance on this side, near the public space on the right side, retaining the sense of enclosure of the original courtyard and functionally locating the public area in the south side chambers and the north house as two bedrooms. The fourth courtyard is located on the westernmost side of the second row and is designed to incorporate the original courtyard frontage into the courtyard itself as a landscaped pathway before entering the home. The flow of the pathway is through the landscaped pathway first into the public space on the south side and through the public space into the inner courtyard before reaching the bedrooms on the north side.
The seventh courtyard is the result of the integration of two courtyards, with the public building, the tea room, on the left. The design widens part of the front road to form a unified open area with the front of the tea room to increase the spatial hierarchy, with two bedrooms on the north side and a new public area on the east side. The design of the eleventh courtyard, located in the middle section, interrupts the original frontage road into the courtyard, breaking up the original through-length pattern. The entrance is via a section of the light grey stone path, after which one path leads up to the flat roof via a walkway, and the other path leads to the interior via two turns and a walkway, digesting the relationship of height differences within the site. The planning of the paths and the turning relationships continue and deepen the experience of walking through the traditional dwelling.