Youli B＆B / Brick&Cube Architects
Text description provided by the architects. The owners are a middle-aged couple working in the urban area of Beijing. In 2022, they rented two small houses near Jingdong Grand Canyon in Pinggu, a suburb of Beijing, they wanted to transform the house into a warm, pastoral homestay. In the conversation with the owner, I was deeply impressed by the “Fruit of Life” she mentioned, which is a Japanese documentary about the three meals and four seasons of two couples. Although we have not been to the site, we have already had a general imagination of the design through the early communication. Arriving at the site for the first time, I was attracted by the mountain and surrounding natural environment surrounded by the project. However, the current situation of the original building is not ideal. The two houses are located at the corner of the road, backed by the mountain, and the interior and courtyard Spaces are completely exposed to the view of people when they go down the mountain. The building is a typical northern rural self-built house, and the appearance and functional layout are too rough and simple. How to communicate with the surrounding landscape, create rich Interior and outdoor Spaces, and create a comfortable and natural pastoral space atmosphere has become the focus of the renovation design.
Geometric intervention. Due to the small interior space of the building and the cold winter in the north, the original courtyard space can be incorporated into the interior to solve the problems of Keep out the cold, circulation and increase of interior space. The eastern gable of the large house is the main facade to be viewed when going up the hill, and the triangles are easily recognizable in the geometry and have great visual impact. The slanted roof also avoids the visual pressure caused by the large vertical volume, while the rectangular volume of the small house serves as the background, and the slanted roof is a positive and a diagonal, each other’s cause and effect. In addition to considering visual and psychological factors, we also hope to create a dialogue and echo with traditional Chinese architecture. The classical three-stage composition of the roof, the wall and the base of the ancient Chinese architecture also solves the practical functional needs of the design to deal with the height difference of the entrance, the internal enclosure and the lighting and viewing.
Entrance space. The original building gate is directly adjacent to and facing the street, and the design turns the direction of the entrance vertically and inserts it into the interior of the building, forming a triangular and rectangular entrance space according to the external form of the building, which not only has the practical function of the canopy, but also strengthens the spatial guidance of the entrance, forming an excessive gray space inside and outside.
Glowing box. Even in the summer, the sun sets early in the mountains, and the whole village turns dark. In the evening, the interior lights up the buildings and roads, and the illuminated glass boxes serve as “beacons” for visitors and passers-by.
Viewing Landscape. There is a small garden on the south side of the site road, and the owner hopes to transform it into a supporting service for homestays in the later stage. The protruding platform of the inclined roof shortens the viewing distance of the opposite mountain, and also becomes a platform for dialogue with the opposite site in the future. Before the renovation, the roof of the original building could not be filled, so we set an external staircase in the gap between the two houses to avoid the stairs taking up too much interior space, but also to provide visitors with different perspectives and spatial feelings of the mountain view.
Internal space. The space covered by the inclined roof has more possibilities for living scenes. Through the redesign of the elevation and the organization of the flow line, the original staircase was preserved, and the lower part of the staircase formed a rich activity space. We want to redefine the service space of stairs and corridors, which are transportation attributes, and make them the protagonists of spatial modeling elements. The corridor is not only a channel connecting the interior and exterior, but also plays a key role in the space division and external modeling of the building. Staircases, corridors, and ever-changing elevations all appear in one scene, reminiscent of Escher’s work where different Spaces and perspectives converge.
When designing the interior Spaces, we did not use or select any special materials. The base of the design is the use of wood, a natural material, and the hope is to reflect relaxation, comfort and a certain sense of quality through the use of ordinary but high-quality wood.
The architectural vocabulary of structure, glass and balustrade becomes part of the interior elements, and the interior space has more architectural significance after the transformation, blurring the boundary between indoor and outdoor. The guest room space does not deliberately do too much decorative design, but according to the status quo of the original house will be living, leisure, view and other functional elements into the integration. At the same time, combined with the management needs, it presents the construction, essence and unique space form.