The project is an old house reconstruction in a small village at the foot of Mount Wutai in Shanxi Province. The local environment is full of northwest style. The owner of the house grew up here when he was a child, so he has deep feelings for his hometown. Now that his parents are old, he bought back his neighbor's abandoned courtyard and want to expand and rebuild his ancestral home. Through the reconstruction, he hope that it can not only expand the area and add the convenience of modern living, but also preserve part of the original appearance and retain the memory and stories of the family.
The site, which is located on the westernmost side of the village, is located to the west and face to east with the mountain behind and an open area in front. You can directly overlook the village center square in front of the gate and take a panoramic view of the entire village.
The original yard is not big in size, but it is a relatively standard courtyard house with some old but distinctive features. We must first preserve these traditional folk architectural languages and then to see whether these "characteristics" can collide with the "design sense" to produce something interesting.
Due to the restrictions of the site terrain and the surrounding environment (the north is the neighbor and the east is the public road), the expansion can only toward west and south and we hope it can integrate into the environment instead of being out of tune. Based on the site terrain, we imagine its backwards (west) growing trend should be to rely on or be embedded in the backslope just like streams flowing from the mountains to the yard as well as old people staring into the distance on the slopes of the mountains.
Chinese tradition emphasizes heaven and earth that “Heaven” means the environment and “Land” means architecture. The main house should be built in square shape and the back (South) yard should be natural. We hope that they are both distinct and also with some form of connection----not only the connection of home and garden, but also the past and the present.
The final atmosphere we hope to achieve is a kind of “quiet feeling”. When we return here, we should be able to forget about the noisy city, forget about the time, look at the clear sky and taste tea to recall the previous story. We will use the "close" of courtyard house to make it private and use the "transparency" between the courtyard and the house to make it imaginative.
We connect the backyard with the main house through a modern bar kitchen, which is in contrast to the “Northwest Zen” of the main house and also a transparent module that breaks the Square, adding a transition space between traditional and modern, closed and open, house and courtyards.
The owner’s home was the first family to have a TV set in the village. At that time, the television set was placed in front of the small window in the north room. Once in the evening, people in the whole village prepared a small bench to sit in the yard and watch the monochromatic television through the small window. It is very lively in the yard.
If we want to retain memories, we must try to maintain the consistency of the existing four buildings, the main yard and four corner yards before and after the transformation: the experience that the original way of life retained, the characteristics that the original space taste reserved.