▼项目概览，overview of the project
The Mengsheng Community in the Haizhu District of Guangzhou got its name out of the saying that the descendants of Mengtian, a legendary general of Qin Dynasty(221B.C-207B.C), resided here. The project is located on Upper-Mengsheng Street, a long and winding alleyway. The original house was a three-story brick and concrete structure that the owner built in 1985 with each story having a floor area of merely 22 square meters. It is closely surrounded by its neighboring buildings.
The east side of the house brushes against the exterior wall of the adjacent house, while the north and west sides have a spacing of 90 and 30 centimeters with neighboring houses. The 80 -centimeter-wide alley in the south, which barely allows two people to walk pass each other, is the only passage that leads to the entrance. In addition to being small, compressed, dark, and incoveniently close to the neighboring houses, the building also has poor thermal performance with underlying structural dangers. These issues are always typical in the process of regeneration in old city quarters.
▼东侧紧贴临屋外墙，北侧和西侧距邻家只有90和30公分，南面一条80公分宽的幽暗窄巷是入户的唯一通道，the east side of the house brushes against the exterior wall of the adjacent house, while the north and west sides have a spacing of 90 and 30 centimeters with neighboring houses; the 80-centimeter-wide alley in the south is the only passage that leads to the entrance
Small pieces of maroon stone with natural grains are chosen for the exterior wall of the house, since their color matches with the surrounding old buildings. As time passes, the overall texture of the wall will enable the house to be further integrated into the surrounding environment. After renovation, the building still takes on a low-key stance in the neighborhood, while provides a welcoming respite for its owners in the bustling city.
▼外墙选用了褐红色天然纹理的小片石材，颜色与周边的老旧建筑相近，small pieces of maroon stone with natural grains are chosen for the exterior wall of the house, since their color matches with the surrounding old buildings
▼用雕镂的方法使建筑内部上下贯通，房中有房，小中见大，the operation of carving through the floor plates enables the integration of the whole building and creates interlocking living spaces
The renovation plan started from the interior, aiming to reorganize the vital functions of daily life within the limited space. The operation of carving through the floor plates enables the integration of the whole building and creates interlocking living spaces. Skylights are introduced on the top floor to allow light in the building. Thus the dark and light spaces, openings and enclosures, are manipulated to make the tiny interior feel much more spacious. The construction started with the reinforcement of the overall structure. The original steep, single-run stair was replaced by a comfortable double-flight one as a device to rearrange vertical circulation. The customized light scoops on the north and south walls bring additional skylight to the dark ground floor. Carefully designed viewing windows at various positions on the walls not only usher in natural light to each floor, but also bring outside views inside.
▼起居室、餐厅，living room, dinning area
▼可收纳起来的餐桌，the dinning table can hide inside
▼通向二层的楼梯空间，stairs to the second floor
▼拆除原楼梯，将原先陡峻的单跑梯改为舒适的折返梯，形成新的垂直流线， the original steep, single-run stair was replaced by a comfortable double-flight one as a device to rearrange vertical circulation
▼二层空间，second floor area
▼二层紧邻楼梯的活动室，family room near the stairs on the second floor
▼从楼梯空间看二层活动室及后方儿童卧室，view from the stairs to the family room and children’s bedroom
▼二层通向三层的楼梯，stairs from the second to the third floor
▼天窗与侧窗为垂直交通空间引入光线与风景，skylight and side window bring light and view into the vertical stairs
A house should not only accommodate people, but also their spirit and dreams. Though this house is tiny, it provides a unique feeling of serenity over the hustle and bustle of the metropolis. The stroll through the dark and narrow alley into the building can be a reminder of an excerpt from the Chinese literary classic, The Peach Colony, that tells a story of a fisherman’s discovery of an “Arcadia” at the end of a grove of peach trees: “At first the opening was very narrow, barely wide enough for one person to go in ”. After walking through the alley that is illuminated by only a beam of narrowly constrained skylight, eventually “it opened into a flood of light ”. Here, while one ascends from the ground floor of the building to the top, he gradually emerges from darkness into brightness and his feelings would rise from repression to a sense of release. This experience is akin to that of the fisherman, thus the building can be seen as the reconstruction of a “vertical Peach Colony”.
On the top fourth floor, there is a transparent small room and a terrace that overlooks the surrounding city. It is intended to be an open space flexible for various activities as admiring the moon, having tea or contemplating.
▼三层通向四层的楼梯，stairs from the third floor to the fourth floor
▼楼梯临窗小空间，small area near the window in the vertical circulation space
▼四层顶楼是一个空灵剔透的小房间，on the top fourth floor, there is a transparent small room
▼可四面环顾市景的露台，a terrace overlooks the surrounding city
This small, single-family house of merely 80 square meters is a tiny cell that composes the old city fabric of Guangzhou. As an example of the city’s micro-regeneration process, this project has a unique cultural ambition for the revival of the historical clusters within the city. It undertakes resistance and provides an alternative option that opposes the prevailing tabula rasa model of urban renewal.
▼露台夜景，night view of the terrace
▼住宅夜景，night view of the house
▼楼梯间剖透视，staircase sectional perspective
▼南北向剖透视，south-north sectional perspective
▼东西向剖透视，east-west sectional perspective
摄影师：张超 孟岩 姜轻舟 张超贤
Serene Residence in a Bustling City: The Renovation of a Little House in a Historical Neighborhood of Guangzhou
Client: DRAGON TV
Location: The 18 Shang Meng Sheng Street of the Guangzhou Meng Sheng Community
Site Area: 27.9m2
Floor Area: 96.4 m2
Building Levels: 4 floors
Building Height: 12.7m
Building Function: Housing
Principal Architect: Meng Yan
Project Architect: Jiang Qingzhou
Team: Zhang Chaoxian
(LDI) Structure/ MEP (Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing):
Beijing Century Peak International Architecture Design Co., Ltd.
China Building Design Consultants, Shenzhen
Photographers: Zhang Chao, Meng Yan, Jiang Qingzhou, Zhang Chaoxian