The project is located in a place surrounded by mountains and water, where the Bouyei people (an ethnic minority of China) live. Human settlement and nature seem to form a harmonious community. This kind of localization arouse from the initial design inspiration. The design intended to find a balance between the residents’ living needs and the natural imprint. Start from the community, awaken the memory of the site, and integrate such natural conditions appropriately.
The “Hidden” Entrance
We hoped that the entrance would be more hidden, without complicated decorations, but simple water stones to fit the natural calmness, and original texture to show respect to the mountains.
The core area was the highlight of the entire space. We hoped it could convey the concept of community intuitively. We used the natural design language to restore the circumstance of the space, break the solidified sequence of the exhibition area, and show the most authentic state of people walking in nature.
Design Challenges and Solutions
Artistic Landscape Wall
The artistic landscape wall was a multi-curved surface structure with a length of about 40 meters, the highest point was 3 meters from the ground, the cantilever was 5 meters, and the center of the landscape wall was a hollowed-out hole of 5.2*2.1 meters. The structure was made from 30 keel frames of 200*200*12*12mm, which could smoothly support the connection of the outer skin while meeting the safety requirements.
After we confirmed the structure, we began to explore skin materials. At first, we thought of using woven bamboo and rattan to show the original texture; but considering the durality and practicability, we finally used stainless steel as the main material of the outer skin to simulate the original bamboo weaving effect. The shapes of bamboo joints were achieved by the internal expansion of the steel pipes.
However, another problem came out. The keel structure was exposed through the gaps of the bamboo weaving skin. Then we tried to solve it under the circumstances that the caliber of the braided mesh was close to the limit.
We firstly tried to add a layer of bamboo weaving skin to hide the structure, but the construction cost was very high. After several deductions, the woven metal mesh was finally used as the inner covering, which was not only suitable for the texture, but also hid the structure.
Besides the skin structure, the connection of the bamboo joints, the welding of the curved steel pipes, the control of the hole in the outer skin and the selection and weaving of the metal mesh were difficulties in manufacturing.
The landscape wall was a five-layer structure built by bamboo weaving technique, with a steel structure in the middle and metal mesh on both sides.
During processing, the junctions of internal solder joints, the smoothness of the surface of bamboo weaving, the gap of the metal mesh and the selection of the weaving method were constantly adjusted. The artistic landscape wall was built with over 200,000 imitation bamboo steel pipes, 270,000 stainless steel woven grids, and over 70,000 arc-shaped seamless bamboo joints. The overall cost was RMB 700,000.
The “bamboo” structure is located at the peak of the site, and it is also the visual focus. It was inspired by the former habitation configuration of the Bouyei people. We hoped that it would be more transparent, and the application of the imitation bamboo weaving metal allowed the structure to strongly coexist with nature from material to shape. It was like a landscape that blended into nature.
The overall shape of the “bamboo” structure was a two-storey arch, continuing the weaving texture of the outer skin. It could be used as a stand for meeting guests and appreciating views. The living room was about 10 meters wide, 6.3 meters high, with a cantilever span of 12 meters, featuring a hemispherical curved membrane structure.
We firstly set up and adjusted the main structure of the living room based on the safety principle, and used 26 keels, including 5 main curved keels, to form the core skeleton. Then split them, used parametric modeling to return the aluminum plate model of the skin (scale 1:1) to the processed wood foundation, and then processed each aluminum plate into a specific shape and numbered according to a specific base, used the special-shaped wood foundation to adjust the radian.
After finishing these, we decided to disassemble the monomers and transport them in batches, and finally reassembled them on-site according to the numbers and parametric modeling. 26 keels, over 100,000 imitation bamboo steel pipes, over 13,000 aluminum plates with numbers and different shapes were used in the “bamboo” structure, and the overall cost was RMB 1.2 million.
Project location: Longli County, Guiyang, Guizhou, China
Design year: 2021
Year Built: 2021Entrant name: Guangzhou S.P.I Design