In the beginning, the architect received the original commission to design a 300-square-meter public building for facilitatingthe county’s culture and art education in Xiuwu, Henan. However, considering the vast serving area (630-square-kilometer county area) and the difficulty of traveling between scattered villages, the architect came up with a proposal to divide one building into a series of miniature facilities in different locations so as to better serve local communities.
The long-term drawbacks of remote rural areas include insufficient educational resources, inadequate information access and scant aesthetic imagination. Thus, community leaders and the architect seek for an aesthetic approach towards rejuvenating these communities. Through these minimal architecture investments, the project aims to inspire sensibilities of local residents, to help them enjoy and rethink life quality, as well as to alleviate isolation and poverty.
▼场地环境，site context ©ATELIER XI
▼草图和模型，sketches and models ©ATELIER XI
These cast-in-place concrete miniatures are interpreted into a series of tree-shaped spaces with tentacles reaching out for the sky, bathing in light and shadow. Their locations vary from fields, woods, to mountaintops, and their forms differ as well: while one grows out from the ruined walls in an abandoned village, another embodies a floating theater on the water. The construction of the seven units is divided into two phases with the first phase consisting of Periscope (a vernacular theater), Observatory (a beverage bar in a peach tree farmland) and Bent House (a communal library).
▼桃屋，Peach Hut ©张超
▼几何示意，geometry ©ATELIER XI
“Peach Hut”, the first completed miniature pavilion, is surrounded by a field of blossoming peach trees in a farmland. The trees on the site which all lean to one side, which inspired the sculptural form of the architecture. The architect envisions that the building is cut from a series of invisible arcs derived from the earth and the cloud, forming a unique shape that rises to the sky.
▼由无形弧线所切割的体量跃升向天空，the building cut from a series of invisible arcs forms a unique shape rinsing to the sky ©张超
▼桃屋和桃树果林，Peach Hut surrounded by a field of blossoming peach trees ©张超
In the Peach Hut, all windows are of diverse shapes, responding to different views and light angles: the large floor-to-ceiling window on the second floor allows viewers to jump over the peach trees and overlook the panoramic view of the farm; the round window frame on the south side rotates along the central axis, and captures dynamic imageries of the orchard under the subtle variation of daylight; the vertical windows at the corners lengthen the depth of field from the orchard to the village at far; the shadow resulted from the skylight changes at every moment; and the entrance corner window is made as a quarter circle resembling the stooped peach trees, thusresonating withthe picturesque land.
▼室内空间，interior view ©张超
▼入口角窗， the entrance corner window ©张超
▼二层落地大窗，large floor-to-ceiling window on the second floor ©ATELIER XI
▼窗洞细节，window detailed view ©张超
▼施工过程，construction process ©ATELIER XI
Impressed by the peach blossoms on the site during the first visit, the architect decided to coat the building with pink cast-in-place concrete. After repeated field tests, the architect and the construction team eventually found a formula that met the desired color and concrete strength. The exterior concrete finish is cast with small wooden formwork to outline the contour of the curved geometry, and the interior finish is cast with a smooth formwork to better reflect the skylight from above. In early morning, at noon, dusk and night, the pink concrete wall reveals different colors and qualities based on the changing light conditions.
▼墙面细部，wall surface detailed view ©张超
▼外观细节，exterior view ©张超
The architect hopes to leave a few marks on the building that belong only to this piece of land. Therefore, a bronze wall sconce and black steel door handles are designed with the outline of the building; and a relief tree is cast on the concrete facade with customized formwork, orientating towards sunrise to the east.
▼金属壁灯与建筑轮廓呼应，the wall sconce designed with the outline of the building ©ATELIER XI
▼外立面上的浮雕树，the relief tree cast on the concrete facade ©张超
▼夜间的桃屋，Peach Hut by night ©张超
▼场地平面图，site plan ©ATELIER XI
▼一层平面图，plan 1F ©ATELIER XI
▼立面图，elevations ©ATELIER XI
▼剖面图，sections ©ATELIER XI
项目名称：微建筑系列 I- 桃屋
Project Name: Miniature Series I – Peach Hut
Architecture Firm: ATELIER XI
Contact e-mail: email@example.com
Firm Location: Shenzhen, China
Completion Year: 2020.7
Gross Built Area: 55 m2
Project location: Xiuwu, Henan Province, China
Lead Architects: Chen Xi
Lead Architects e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Design Team: Zhu Zhu, Huang Jiajie, Wang Xingyao, Xu Lvbao, Wang Weiguo, Tian Di, Wen Weijian, Cao Suying, Han Xiao, Xu Zhiwei
Clients: Xiuwu County
Construction Documents: Li Jianhui (architecture), Su Zhimeng (structure), Gan Bin, Xiao Liangmin (MEP)
Lighting Consultant: AURA Lighting Design Consultant
Photo credits: Zhang Chao