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Yanqing Countryside Residence by ABC Design Studio and Spacework Architects

Small residential house facing hillside.

Design Firm: ABC Design Studio + Spacework Architects
Designer: Jim Spear, Zhong Wenkai
Social Media: Facebook
Website: spaceworkarchitects
Design Team: Fu Yongxin, Sun Xiaoqian, Xun Yao, Zhang Lifang, Wang Xiaxi
Location: Bailixiangju Resort, Dashiyao Village, Qianjiadian Township, Yanqing District, Beijing, China
Plot Area: 738 sqm
Building Area: 280 sqm
Project Year: 2020
Client: Beijing Jingxibei Real Estate Development Group Company, Ltd. on behalf of Residence Owners
Collaborator: Baoding Hongda Architectural Design Company, Ltd.
Photographs: © Spacework Architects 2020
                             © China Bound Ltd. 2020

This magnificent site, located in an abandoned hillside village, contained only the ruins of a hut typical for rural northern China dwellings. We decided to preserve and restore two of its four bays as a memory and as the root from which new programs would grow.

The partially truncated west bay opens to a soaring great room through an arched doorway. Clerestories and a round window above the open kitchen provide dramatic daylight and views. Lower spaces arranged asymmetrically on the sides create more intimacy for entry, dining area, kang (built-in-bed), and support functions.

Old and new structures interlock. One set of the traditional wood posts and beams from the hut now penetrate the great room, standing in the transparent gap between tall brick wall and concrete structure.

The reconstructed gable wall of the old house is also cut open and penetrated by a concrete tunnel connecting to the bedroom wing on the higher east side of the plot.

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The sequence of living spaces follows an axis but the geometry of the bedrooms is playfully rotated between ridgeline and the orientation of rooms. Rather than run parallel to the hillside retaining wall, the hidden east face of the building is a zigzag, creating privacy and also opening up unexpected views and light.

Pitched tile roofs cap the succession of building volumes of varying heights, except for the connection tunnel clad in slate. The tiles have been recycled from demolished houses in nearby villages.

Crisp metal roof edges and hidden gutters contrast with the overhanging eaves of the vernacular hut while wooden fascia unites the entire composition.

Interiors include exposed concrete, red brick, and black slate with native stone and white granite accents. Pine bed shelters and floating white ceilings provide crafted counterpoint.

The owners have filled the residence with lovingly collected personal furnishings. The reborn hut is their study for reading and calligraphy practice, becoming the cherished heart of their home.