02 May Ancient Apricot Mountain Dwelling Home Stay / PAN-CHINA·RESP Studio
Ancient Apricot Mountain Dwelling Home Stay / PAN-CHINA·RESP Studio
Location: The subject site is located in the Dingrong Village where is the most northern village in Quanzhou. Dingrong village in the deep Daiyun mountains is well known for its ginkgo trees. There are 27 ancient ginkgo trees with ages of more than 300 years over the village. The leaves of these ginkgo trees turn gold during late autumn and early winter. Such beautiful ‘golden’ trees which are located within a large broad-leaf forest are forming a unique rural environment together with the locally ancient village houses. These ancient village houses with southern-Fujian architectural style are surrounded by bamboo forest groves, which seems to maintain this pure ancient land and culture. Due to the special location of the village and inconvenient roads, the original natural features of the ancient village are retained without the adverse impacts from the outside environment over hundreds of years.
Impression: We accessed the hamlet by driving from the city nearby to the town and then via the narrow village road. Having the car parked under the lush ginkgo trees, the view was blocked by the thick branches. It was still in the early summer that the ginkgo season has not come yet. We climbed along the steps covered with weeds and found the dwelling house which we aim to alternate in this project — an old wooden folk dwelling house surrounded by weeds. This old house has the structure of typical characteristics of southern Fujian called “Sanhe courtyard ”. There is a 300-years-old ginkgo tree outside the courtyard which seems to be protecting the house.
There were some burnt incenses, gold paper, and candles in the hall. The owner of the house keeps the traditional culture of southern China that people come back from the city to worship their ancestors during the Chinese New Year and the Qingming Festival to bring some vigorous atmosphere to the old house. A firewood room and a bathroom are close to the east of the main chamber. To the further east, there is a grove of bamboo with a path connecting the house to the outer village road.
The hall of the main chamber is a higher building while the wing-rooms on both sides are lower. Single rooms and kitchen inside the old house feels gloomy, even though they have doors and windows. However, the rest of the halls and corridors are opened, bright and ventilated. The elements of old trees, courtyard, corridors, steps and the mountain view constitute every fragment of the old house. Walking in these scenes is just like walking in a small village.
The design-build method of the old house is a combination of post-and-lintel construction and column and tie construction. The roof truss of the middle hall is the most amazing part that remains intact and exquisite of the house. The structure of the beams and columns are easy to trace, while the rest parts are obviously dilapidated.
Requirement: 1.By means of the transformation of the first B&B in Ginkgo Village, it is expected to arouse the vitality of the village and promote the tourism of “Ginkgo Village” further to attract more people’s attention to the old villages with its ancient Ginkgo trees. We hope this could boost the local rural revitalization. 2.For the owners of the house, this dilapidated old house is the spiritual belonging of their family and he wishes to preserve the memory of the “main chamber”.
Design: By having a location on mountainous terrain, the local dwellings in this village are built based on the topography. For hundreds of years, the villagers have chosen a suitable site for construction. The project site is facing north and is long and narrow from east to west. The site falls from the southern boundary to the northern boundary. The layout of the design follows the texture of the village morphology. The main house and annexes are built along the east-west direction of the land to restore the fragmentary site. The architectural style is designed to be integrated into the village and the building volume is designed to be able to separate into pieces in order to well integrate with the surrounding environment.
“Ancient trees, mountains, and the courtyard” become the key part of the design and the usage of internal and external space transformation responses to the narrowness of land use. By gathering five rooms in the main chamber, the ways to the tearoom, restaurant, kitchen, and bathroom have to go through the outdoor space. This design is the inheriting of old house’s style which would form certain “wandering” alleys and produce some “inconveniences” to show the differences of rural area and urban space. The various switches among alleys, ancient trees, buildings, water and bamboos would expand the path for experiencing, enlarge the spacing effect and enrich the place. It feels like walking around a small village and continuing the space experience of the old house.
The largest guest room has a loft level with an extra high-ceiling space facing the ancient tree. This would form a sense of conversation between people and the ancient trees, which is considered as a conversation between interior and exterior space. The balcony in the western guest room on the second floor is adjacent to the farmland path of the terrace. This design would provide a “handshake balcony” that the users can actually shake hands with the old farmers passing by. The eastern guest rooms are facing the bamboo forest. These bamboo are luxuriant but do not block the view. When the wind comes through, bamboo leaves would swish in the wind.
The ancient village is located at a high altitude with inconvenient traffic therefore the design-build methods are ecological and primitive. Most wall foundations of the dwellings were built with pebbles from the downstream mountain while the roof trusses were constructed with woods. Also, the walls were put up by bamboo rattan plastered with immature soil, and the roofs were covered with Chinese-style tiles. In order to respect the local building elements, this design uses bamboo balustrades, bamboo woven ceilings, Chinese-style tile roofing, plaster exterior walls and other building materials. The steel structure was used in order to reflect the traditional timberwork.
Difficulties in Construction. In order to meet the objective of continuing the memory of the old house requested by the owner, the proposal is designed to keep the existing hall roof truss to form a sense of the speaking between “new” and “old” and create the effect of “room inside the room, house inside the house”. Although such design brought a greater challenge during the construction, we used the craft to fine process the dilapidated old timber frame in order to keep the traces of history. Finally, the old roof truss is protected as a significant element of interior space in the lobby bar, becoming a narrator of history and the bridge between the present and the past. It is a spiritual space of this project and this space could also be used as a village hall and the countryside museum in the future. Limited by the budget, the project faced a large number of difficulties during the construction. As mobile machinery vehicles could not access the lane behind the house, we widened the road to satisfy the need of construction. As such, the construction expense is over the budget, which also affected the construction fund. At the same time, due to the other factors, the original design of building a kitchen and a bathroom as new single buildings had to be canceled and changed to alternate the original toilet. Also, the kitchen area in the original design was changed to an outdoor dining area while the firewood room was changed into a dining room.
The viewing angle of the ancient ginkgo: As a narrow construction site, the framing of the building is around the ancient trees. The gate of the courtyard is located under the ancient tree. You would need to lower your head and lean to one side to keep yourself from touching the brunch of the ancient tree before reaching the gate. It is the first touch of the ancient tree. As a relaxing place, the tearoom has a window with a height intentionally lowered so that you can see the ancient trees and their reflections on the surface of the water while sipping tea by sitting there. In the alley, the outer walls of the main hall and the tearoom form a longitudinal view frame for the ancient trees and the surface of the water. The observatory is the best place to view the whole ancient tree.
The viewing angle of the bamboo forest: From the balcony of the eastern guest room on the second floor, the bamboo forest can be viewed by looking across the roof ridge. On the second floor of the dining room, the bamboo forest is framed by large windows and becomes the background of the dining room. While walking through the alleys, bamboo leaves rustle in the wind and space becomes more peaceful.
The viewing angle of the mountain in the distance: Due to the site condition and orientation, the tearoom was turned to the east by an angle, therefore, a wide transverse view of the distant mountains could be provided for the main chamber. The observatory keeps a safe distance from the northern retaining wall of the site and is paralleled to the distant mountains.
The courtyard and the water yard: Under the ancient trees, the sound of falling water brings vitality to the whole space. You could reach the lobby bar which is a keyspace of the B&B by walking through the stepping stones on the water surface. Having a glass door facing the distant mountains, the surface of the water behind the door reflects the blue sky. As such, the new roof truss, the old roof truss, the water, and the distant mountains form a time-traveling picture together.