Located in the area of Garden Hong inside Xixi Wetland National Park, Miaosen Floriland consists of four units of traditional Chinese architecture which represent respectively four different types of building: ancestral hall, parlor, four-sided courtyard houses and three-sided courtyard houses, which are all linked by lovely paths and decorated with design gardens. With a riverlet passing by its northern side, the compound of Miaosen Floriland is connected with transport network in the south.
▼双重四合院民居一层，展卖空间，four-sided courtyard house ground floor
▼穿过水院看向讲台，looking at the podium through the water courtyard
As the heart of the whole compound, the Ancestral Hall maintains its essential function in history as a decision-making place in the patriarchal system and is now used as conference hall and administration area, dominating the other three units adapted to experiencing various aspects of life-style such as garments, foods and drinks, household wares and related studies as well. The Parlor now is serving as a space for tasty vegetarian hot-pots. The three-sided courtyard is for studies and academic exchanges, while the four-sided courtyard houses have opened on the ground floor the commercial spaces for garments, floriculture, household wares, as well as a space for performances and lectures. The second floor is partitioned into ten teahouses of variable size, different ambience and certain privacy, suitable for such activities as appreciation of tea, connoisseurship of incense, professional training, team building, etc.
▼轻质、白色的钢结构系统体现虚无飘渺的空间氛围，white and weightless iron together with the removal of the system of vertical transport create a mysterious and ethereal atmosphere
▼一层空间细部，ground floor details
Our design for the outside space environment is mainly focused on two aspects. The first is about making flower fields inside the courtyards and the second, eliminating the division between exterior and interior spaces. In coherence with what is implied by the term ‘floriland’, the flower fields in courtyards not only contribute a unique scenery to Xixi Wetland which feature intense green plants and vast water surface, but also provide to its occupants changeable views in different seasons. With the construction of water-edged pavilions built inside and making internal space in the style of traditional wetland gardens, both internal and external spaces have got extended. Consequently, the division between external and internal spaces has disappeared and the four units of buildings have therefore obtained a kind of entirety. With regards to the Space of Vegetarian Hot-Pots, the elaborated arrangement of the chandeliers has predefined the division of three functional sections. With the original structure of traditional architecture being exposed as thoroughly as possible, we can see the steams and smokes from the boiling pots spiring between the pillars and embracing the beams above.
▼房屋最原始的样子在现代技术下的架构形式，structural form of the primitive type of houses expressed in modern technology
“淼森花境”：一个生活之道发生于其中的“幻境”|About Miaosen Floriland: A Dreamland Where the Supreme Ideal of Living Is Practiced
Inspired and derived from Chinese Chan Buddhism, Miaosen Floriland is a brand engaged in creating a spirituality-related life style. Our conception about such a space starts therefore with the imagination about a livable Chinese Chan world. Chinese Chan Buddhism, since the time of Ancestral Master Huineng the Sixth Patriarch, prefers to the method of gradual enlightenment originated in India the approach of sudden enlightenment which breaks down the bondage of behaviors and initiates a positivist practice into every facets of daily life. Such a great reform happed to Chinese Chan is deeply influenced, after all, by Chinese Taoism and particularly by Taoist idea about the Nature. In comparison with the dry landscape in typical Japanese Zen garden, notably its state of being static, carefree and contemplative due to its advocacy of asceticism and self-discipline, the Chinese design garden is distinguished for its spirit, vitality and briskness which can be easily felt when we are strolling inside.
▼白色钢结构楼梯，white iron staircase
Based on the above-mentioned understanding, a keyword has been found which seems to us closest to our imagination about a contemporary Chinese Chan world: Dreamland of the Great Void, representing an illusory place of sensuality where people think about the origin of the world and endeavor to bring themselves back to their own heart and mind. As defined by the term Miaosen Floriland, in such a place is lived and practiced the supreme ideal of living. This dreamland, situated between likelihood and unlikelihood, is a model of non-physical space according to traditional Chinese philosophy and esthetics, and, at the same time, a model of positivist thinking of Chinese Chan Buddhism. The vocabulary of spatial forms for Miaosen consists in two parallel systems: the system of world structure, its simplification and evolution; and the system of life components, its decomposition and restructuration.
The triple structure of the world, consisting of sky (roof/ceiling) , earth (foundation) and humans (supporting structure), is simplified into a scheme of four pillars and several horizontal planes superimposed with each other, which cannot be further simplified in modern technology. This is also a reply to Le Corbusier’s concept of Dom-ino. The material here applied to the structure is white and weightless iron instead of heavy concretes, so as to create, together with the removal of the system of vertical transport, a mysterious and ethereal atmosphere. This is the structural form of the primitive type of houses expressed in modern technology. After the simplification either to form or to materials which is indicating the origin of the world, what is left is an ‘only one’ which, impossible to be further reduced, can trigger a series of evolutions through transformation, superimposition, overlapping and aggregation, just like the world we know which, however complicated and complex, starts factually from the simplest and finally forms a structural system full of repetitions and variations which allows observers to think about and search for its origin between likelihood and unlikelihood.
▼双重四合院民居二层空间概览，first floor overview
▼双重四合院民居二层私人茶室，private tea houses on first floor
Miaosen Floriland is a place of fantasy and the life-style that it represents is developing itself in such a space model. The world structure, inseparable from the objects surrounding us, is the environment and the material reliance for our living. Life is just as flowers: acting in the world like rose, blooming in solitude like a lily, preserving its purity like lotus… these three flowers symbolizing three different levels of life. Between likelihood and unlikelihood, the answer lies in the other side they reached.
▼从茶室看一层讲台，Look at the podium from the tea house
This space formal language is a symbol of Miaosen Floriland which is engaged this time in its dialogue with traditional architecture while, next time in the future, with modern architecture. Each of both has its own existence. Traditional architecture emphasizes on material evidence such as vestiges of time left on wooden structures, image of water represented by marble floor, thin layer of water left in the enclosed patio and reflected back to the interior, and the shadows of bamboo along the side paths which, through the openings on the gables, is thrown back to the interior. The model of the new space language emphasizes on modernity, non-physicality, abstractness and weightlessness, which can be better understood through the image given by a pavilion suspended above the lake or a tower protruding into the clouds, just like what we feel when we are rambling or temporarily resting between likelihood and unlikelihood. In spite of their difference, they have on the other hand a remarkable similarity which makes possible a dialogue between, for instances, tradition and modernity, the abstract and the figurative, the nature and the mind, and finally, this land and the world beyond.
▼二层空间细部，first floor space details
With regards to the literal meaning of Miaosen, Miao, being related to the idea of water including clouds, fogs and smokes as its variation, conveys through horizontal planes the image of clouds and smog appearing repeatedly in various dimensions. Sen, being associated with the image of trees and woods, creates through columns or pillars in various dimensions the image of woods. In one word, Miaosen Floriland is in itself an imagination about the similarity with the nature.
▼花厅外观，parlor exterior view
▼花厅。素食火锅餐厅，parlor. vegetarian chafing dish restaurant
▼吧台细部，bar counter details
Components in living refer to not only sidings for buildings such as doors, windows, staircases, railings, walls, wooden partitions, but also furniture including desks, chairs, screens, lamps, curtains, together with housewares or utensils like cups, kettles, pens, vases, stones and flowers. These three different groups of objects existing in daily life are medium through which we lead our lives. Through decomposition, the significance of each object can be liberated from life itself. Components here are not necessarily referring to the old objects but rather those which maintain their nature after simplification and get restructured after rearrangement through different composition and positioning. Although the buildings are no longer in its wholeness, the presence of components, however, can bring back their entirety. Experiencing and pondering the world which we live in through the abstraction of components between likelihood and unlikelihood, we can thus reconstruct the optimal life cherished in our mind.
Project Name: Interior Design Project of Miaosen Floriland
Location: Garden Hong ， Xixi Wetland National Park，Hangzhou， China
Interior Designer: A9Astudio Architecture Co., Ltd
Project Leader: ZHAO Jia
Plan Designer: ZHAO Jia, DONG Shi
参与团队：JOSEPHINE X WYATT，陈艺洲等
Participating Teams： Josephine X. WYATT, CHEN Yizhou, etc.
Structure Design: Hangzhou Baoye Architectural Design Institute
Area of Construction: 1200 m²
Conception Finished in: September 2017
Photographer: Alexander Wang