Wanguofu is our latest statement on renovation of existing site. The charm of the artistic creation lies in combing through and solving one question and another, finally giving life to the transformed new space. The project is located in Dongzhimen Outer Street, a bustling neighbourhood. Due to the reposition and reconstruct of the apartment building of the project, the surrounding environment no longer met new demand and requirement. The biggest challenges we faced included: 1. traffic and other functionalities of the original site needs to be preserved; 2. Utilities and supporting facilities occupy and divide the central area of the project; 3. Some of the original unruly flora needs be preserved; 4. New design will need to give the space unique meaning and feelings.
Bearing in mind the new positioning, we did not stop short at forthright and symbolised designs to answer the calls of the client. Rather, we aspired to createpleasant environment and interesting space, enabling an ever-changing enjoyable experience when people pass by. Albeit being natural, the design differentiates itself from traditional Chinese style landscaping by leading a modern lifestyle and sense of beauty in public arena. To avoid pretentious and artificial meddling of the natural and original environment, we focused on elaborating the main theme, redesigned some of the less desirable aspects of the original environment. We utilised unadorned materials that give a sense of solemnness. We also made sure that flora choice and arrangements were natural. It was through all these efforts that we transformed the theme of the environment. All seem natural, light-hearted and subtle, yet with unmissable attention to details.
It takes time to comprehend space, while light and shadows witnesses the passing of time. Light and shadows are forever the gracious expression in space. Designers give life to constructions with the spell of light and shadows. When designing the exterior space we encountered the difficulties of complex and complicated external environment, which prevents easy execution of light and shadows. We decided to face the challenge and proceed. Two tiers of spaces needed to be dealt with. The first defines the boundary between the city and the project; the second weave around the different functionalities within the project.
We thrived to create the greatest contrast upon the first tier of spacial transitioning – from the city to the space we created with light and shadows – the symbolic themes of comfort and safety that relate to home. For this we planted trees for the creation of shadows – the tranquility shelters the commotion of the city. They project the thin and tender shadows of the branches and leaves onto the stone paths. The shadow tells stories of children’s growing-up. It fills time with charm.
We created scenes with light and shadow on the second tier of spaces. Utlities and supporting facilities divide the area into scattered blocks. We lumped some of them together to enable them with new functions. Inward looking, the walls and hollowed out ceilings create sense of surroundings and provide safety to the kids’ play area. Facing outward, the natural texture of the walls and the ceiling establish shadows that contours the central area covered with grass, as well as the most important recreational areas. We chanced upon the willow shadows on the walls opposite. Going with the flow, we designed “wall after the light”, splashing the picturesque light and shadows in between the grass.
Selection and execution of materials are the realisation of imaginations. We adopted some of the most common materials, such as sesame blackstones, adhesive stones, ringed woods and tigerite– all of which played a unique role in this project. Japanese maple, red maple, acer truncatum and other common acer trees were carefully arranged to create natural, fine and beautiful spaces under the trees. From the bouncing shadows on the floor to the dotted silhouette on the walls, from the carbonised ringed wooden flooring to the staggering growth of flora – all live without redundant polishing, yet glow with such meticulous splendidness.
Landscape design: Change Studio
Other designers involved in the design of landscape:
Landscape execution: Jisheng &. Change TingLin
Landscape furniture: Easy Jobs
Sculpture: Zhang Zhao Hong
Photography: Wang Ning &. Change Studio
Project location: Dongcheng District, Beijing
Design year: 2016
Year Built: 2017