Childhood summertime in Hutongs, exhausted after running around, we always liked to sit together and look up, look up at the sky! Back then we could still see the Milky Way in Beijing. We were always looking for the constellations in the Saint Seiya, but except from the big spoon of the Big Dipper, I could never recognize the other images from the star atlas. That’s why I was very curious about how the ancient Greeks imagined this vivid image of the sky? Was it just for memorizing the stars? When I grew up, I read about the Nazca Lines and the Uffington White Horse in the book. These mysterious patterns, so huge that human beings can hardly perceive, are just like the modern and contemporary land art. But were they also just for the sake of beauty and criticism?
Later, I seemed to gradually understand the ancient people: they were looking for some kind of supreme power of nature – the God of life. The constellation is not people’s imagination, but the appearance of the God of nature. And the huge white horse is not created for human beings, but for the God of nature in the sky to see that we are here, to see our human existence. This brave way for human beings to understand and establish contact with themselves, the real nature, and the mysterious relationship between nature (God) in their hearts, has always fascinated me. At the end of 2017, we had the opportunity to design and renovate a horse farm in Songzhuang, Tongzhou, the sub center of Beijing.
▼马场空间局部，partial view of the equestrian club ©孙海霆
And “horse”, the natural creature, the best friend of human beings, has only become what it is now because of the domestication of human beings for thousands of years. It can be said that only when there are people can there be horses. In our modern cities, “horse” seems to be the creature that retains the most natural force.
▼人与马，the people and the horse ©刘阳
Thinking about the relationship between man and horse, artificial objects and nature, the way ancient people communicate with God of nature inspired me. Why can’t we believe in the mysterious power of supernatural? Is it also possible to establish some connection with nature in a superhuman way in an artificial city?
▼概念图，the concept ©大料建筑
▼现场，the site ©刘阳
▼“四喜马”Logo，the Logo of the equestrian club ©刘阳
▼马场局部，partial view of the equestrian club ©孙海霆
So on the way back from my first visit to the site, I decided to choose the most direct way to establish the relationship between people, horse, nature and the city, and to make the house a giant horse covering an area of 10000 square meters.
▼总平面图，site plan ©大料建筑
▼马场鸟瞰图，bird-eye’s view of the equestrian club ©刘阳
▼马场屋顶，roofs of the the equestrian club ©刘阳
▼会所大厅，采用玻璃墙，the club with glazed facade ©孙海霆
▼会所大厅的前广场空间，the exterior space surrounding the club ©孙海霆
This kind of joking method, of course, has to solve all practical problems at the operation level, such as signs with guiding function, corridors connecting the existing buildings, entrance lobbies for reception and waiting, limited budget and urgent construction time requirements, as well as the transformation of the original rigid buildings and open space into something rich and flexible. The customers are mainly parents and children who come here to learn equestrian. But we also hope it looks completely different from the traditional equestrian club, breaking the stereotype that equestrian is an aristocratic sport.
▼从会所大厅通向马舍的室外步道，设有连接几座现有建筑的连廊，the exterior path leading to the horse stable from the club, with corridors connecting the existing buildings ©孙海霆
▼马舍的前广场空间，the exterior space surrounding the horse stable ©孙海霆
▼马场局部，partial view of the equestrian club ©孙海霆
▼马场室外空间细节，details of the exterior space of the equestrian club ©孙海霆
▼会所大厅室内，interior view of the club ©孙海霆
Apparently, all these problems can be solved by “a horse”. What’s more, this ancient and surreal way seems to be a new attempt of dialogue between urban people and nature. At least from the surprised and excited look of children over the past year, it seems that our ancestors’ simple idea and our children’s innocent spirit are closer.
▼室内马场休息区，the interior racecourse rest area ©刘阳
▼透过落地窗看室内马场，viewing the interior racecourse through the french windows ©刘阳
▼室内马场，the interior racecourse ©孙海霆
▼从马舍看室外马场，viewing the outdoor racecourse from the horse stable ©朱雨蒙
▼室外跑马区，the outdoor racecourse ©朱雨蒙
God does the work of God, man does the work of man. There is still no answer to this improvisation and contemplation about life, like a mysterious legend, which still fascinates me. Perhaps, the origin and the future are connected despite the seemingly opposite direction.
▼会所大厅夜景，night view of the club ©孙海霆
▼首层平面图局部，partial ground floor plan ©大料建筑
建筑 / 景观 / 硬装 / 软装 : 大料建筑 （刘阳，孙欣晔，胡蓦怀，鱼湉，丁月文，蔡卓群）
视觉系统：SURE Design 烁设计
Client: Beijing Riding Partner International Equestrian Club
Design Team: DL Atelier (Liu Yang, Sun Xinye, Hu Mohuai, Yu Tian, Ding Yuewen, Cai Zhuoqun)
VI Design：SURE Design
Built Area: 6000㎡
Photography: Sun Haiting, Zhu Yumeng, Liu Yang