Appreciation towards 3andwich Design/He Wei Studio for providing the following description:
The design team tries to explore the issues of the revitalization of China’s rural residential buildings, such as the relationship between the overall style of the village and the personality of the architecture, the comparison between new and old materials and structures, the contradictions between local customs and world recognition, the balance between the inherit and the evolution of the traditions, etc.
The project is located in Pingtian village, Sidu Township, Songyang County, Lishui city, Zhejiang province. The original building was ordinary rammed earth dwellings with two storeys and civil structure, covering a total of 270 square meters. People call the place “Papa’s” since it belonged to the owner, the elderly Jiang Binlong. The design goal is to renovate it into a place with new functions and spaces. We decided to put papa’s home a young face — transforming it into a youth hostel with international standard after discussions with the owners and the local government.
To keep the overall style and features of the village, the exterior of papa’s home has been retained completely, almost unchanged. Only a window with a nice view is newly designed and installed on the second floor, where sunshine, air and beautiful scenery can be seen inside the house.
Bold changes are adapted to the interior of the house, different from the prudent attitude to the exterior. The house in Song Yang County usually contains two storeys: On the first floor, the living room is in the middle and the bedrooms are on its sides; Storage room is on the second floor to store food and utilities. Same space design is used when it comes to the “papa’s”. Three individual rooms are on the first floor and a spacious room on the second floor. We quit the conventional approach that repairing it back to what it was or blending the new designs in the original existing designs. Rather than that, we adopt a more intense way that to using new, strong comparative material and civil structure to respond with the old civil structure. This conversation is not a dialogue that confuses the age of history, but a dialogue between the new and the old. The new and the old features are amplified in the design.
We plan to provide a public space for the village on the first floor in the original construction. The clapboards in the original construction, dividing the space from one to many, have been demolished, which turns the space back into a whole. It will be a common place for youngsters to social and play. Meanwhile, tourists and villagers also could have a rest here.
As for the second floor of the construction, we intend to keep the original characteristics of the space, so the conventional method that using the fixed wall to divide the space is denied; several space elements with the concept of “rooms within rooms” are implanted into the original house. They are made up of lightweight materials, which are dismountable, portable and translucent. The “rooms within rooms” are installed inside the original construction, which is gentle and light weighted compared to the original construction. The actual function of “rooms within rooms” is the living units of Papa’s Hostel, each unit can accommodate 4-6 people. The semi-hollow sheets as dividing walls are specially used to create a soft and blurred effect that highlights the construction character of different time periods compared to the original hard materials.
Another interesting feature of the “rooms within rooms” is flexible mobility. They are rooms that can “walk”. There is a set of universal wheels under the structure plate, so it could be moved towards certain directions. Hence the indoors of the hostel can be changeable that could meet different needs. Young people can move the mobile structures and reconstruct the space. The mobility of the rooms make the Papa’s Hostel a design involved with many people rather than just the designers to create countless possibilities installing the rooms in one space.
Different sizes of the holes are designed on the surface of the “rooms within rooms” to make a dramatic effect. These openings make the relatively single interface more active, and provide the possibilities for people to “peek” each other. The design is inspired by the way children to see the world–hiding in a small space and peeking the outside world through a small hole. Designers expect the design could call up the childhood memory of the users who were full of curiosity.
The design of the light strengthens the characteristics of the interior space. Transparent tiles on the roof and large side windows will let the natural light flow into the rooms. LED line light sources are placed in the wooden framework of the “rooms within rooms”, showing as natural lines when looking from the inside, a soft shine box of light when looking from the outside. The illumination of whole space is provided by natural light and the box. Most of the time, the natural light and warm white light are reflected and refracted by the semi-transparent materials to light up the whole space. Changeful shadows offer people a sweet, vague and illusive feeling. But in certain period of time, colorful lights hidden in the “rooms within rooms” will be turned on, creating the space into a vibrant place.
Project name: Papa’s Hostel
Location: Pingtian village, Sidu Township, Songyang County, Lishui city, Zhejiang province
Client: Jiang Binlong (a farmer of Pingtian village)
Chaired architect: He Wei
Architectural design team: Chen Long, Li Qiang, Chen Huangjie
Lighting design team: Zhang Xin, Han Xiaowei, Zhou Xuanyu
Design year: 2014-2015
Construction year: 2015
Area: 270 square meters