The Bridge Residence is located in Suzhou, the most typical Jiangnan City in middle China. Standing just a few blocks away from the 2500-years Luzhi Ancient town, the newly built residence has been expected to be artistic, modern, versatile with local spirits imprinted from the very beginning of the design process.
Besides the endlessly described cultural heritage of scholar garden, this area is also unique environmentally with canals crossing all around the town. Different kind of bridges over the rivers has been part of the local life for thousand years. The design team approaches the project with sensitivity to the essential components of the local elements – Bridge as the inspiration to create the iconic scene feature. Plus apportioning the common and private spaces to meet the client’s expectations, a great range of activity possibilities for residents is arranged. Together they achieve a fresh look for the modern residential spaces with vernacular insight and sensibility.
Background & Targets
Locating in Suzhou – the most traditional Jiangnan city in South China, this residential block is neighboring two canals in the south-east sides, surrounded by the newly developed CBD areas, most of the residents are young families engaged in high-tech and education industries. At the client’s request, which also corresponded with the designer’s philosophy, the new landscapes do not attempt to replicate the traditional forms of Chinese scholar garden where the best of them have been created in history in Suzhou. Instead, by taking water town as the homage to the local spiritual source, this design approach is to create the atmosphere, the water-town experience as the cultural heritage, instead of copying the exact forms. The goal is to transmute the spiritual custom into the modern residential experience, to define the outdoor spaces with one bridge as the scenic feature- and series of common spaces with varied function title – playground, the central open lawn, seating areas, and the semi-public yards.
The North-South Corridor
Based on the easy-arrive principle, the common spaces have been carefully placed along the north-south corridor in the middle of the buildings group. Each unit has been applied both extensive and intensive activity spaces which connect different age group of the residents. Small paths, grilled structure, layers of brushes have detailed shaped the transparency spaces before entering into the main yard. Sculptural blackbird tress shaded on the white sand with sunlight coming through the branches. The atmosphere and detailed sculptured structures shall gradually relieve the residents coming from work and enter into another world.
The ICON Bridge
Water flow on the textural slope going under the bridge defines the spiritual icon design-bridge feature. Being positioned right on the golden area of the overall outdoor spaces, this water-bridge feature could be enjoyed by most of the families nearby at home, this water feature and bridge are conceived as the abstracted reference to the relationship between locals and water from ancient times till today. The modern construction techniques have helped the bridge crossing the water features built in a sculptural size, simple while powerful and elegant, which welcoming visitors at the first visit. The materials and light design of the bridge have all been controlled as the modern tone- white stone and the glass railing, especially the mirror stainless steel design under the bridge which reflects the water is extremely stunning at night time. Together with the central open lawn, this area could also become the prominent event space for a small gathering in the community, such as weddings, camping outdoor and small family parties.
The Center Position
In the center position, the open lawn in front of the community center with grilled wall defined the seating areas with overhead structure, where activity, gathering and meeting for any groups of residents under different weather conditions. On the other side, more private spaces which offer any couples or small gathering find its own spaces, series of small spaces with seats and intimate green spaces. Small yards adjacent closely to each other, with green brushes half-close, naturally bridge the transition between any kind of activity possible for the residents, especially for elderly who looking forward to the relatively quiet spaces.
Featuring landscape by iconic scene design is always a challenge in this profession, especially in the residential project. Codes, client tastes, the local cultural elements, and the site possibility all have to be considered on a strategic level. The whole project is an homage to the vernacular tradition while incorporating a design with the modern code plus with diverse activity provided. By honoring the vernacular water-town background with insight understanding, the design team proved to be successful who brought the romantic representation of the local culture features.
Project category：Residential Housing
Role of the entrant in the project: Landscape Design
Project location: Luzhi Ancient Town, Suzhou City
Design year: 2017
Year Built: 2019