GS house

Year: 2014 - 2015
Size: 320 m2
Type: residential
Status: completed
Location: Beijing, China
Client: private client

Partners in charge: Chen Chen, Federico Ruberto, Nicola Saladino
Design team: Yifu Liu, Aniruddha Mukherjee, Yang Xue, Kuanxin Xu

The project is a renovation-extension of a villa of two screenwriters and their children located in Shunyi, Beijing. The initial client’s requirements were a volumetric expansion to accommodate new programs such as a double-height studio, roof terraces, an exterior projection space, a tea room and the transformation of the existing garden. The original structure, composed of two white boxes is transformed into a dynamic system of interlaced and floating platforms that overlooking each other and disposed in sequence emphasize programmatic interdependencies: from the garden to the top spaces are organized in a whole, as a continuity made of internal “oscillatory” variations.

The new volume seems a unitary mass when observed externally, but it is intended as device for filtering environmental-programmatic factors, a structure internally never secluding but constantly modulating through shadowy thresholds and diaphanous layering. It determines spatial densities through fields of lines, it works varying the “unit”, and the repetitions of the discrete vertical element put in sequence. The seemingly material-diagrammatic uniformity of the intervention is internally rendered discontinuous by a multiplicity of similar but overlapping fields of shadows produced by the different orientations. The material catalogue consists in a light metal structure, filtering aluminium louvers controlling lights and levels of privacy, and a metal grid that works in combination with a white resin floor and a bamboo deck. This reduced palette in combination with the iteration of the vertical element, achieves high variability through a relatively elemental composition. It sets up a scene of possibilities to exalt the passing by of impermanent effects, to register passively and non-uniformly the transiting of external changes, the passage of lights and colours.

The intervention is a coherent module internally composed of diverse interconnected platforms, programmatic volumes treated as blurred juxtapositions. A progression of diverse mezzanines, balconies and roof terraces are linked by a continuous circulation, a bend interweaving in and around the virtual volume, alternating internal stairs and external ramps. The existing roofs, originally unused due to poor accessibility, are activated as a natural continuation of the ground. The garden is so extended becoming an important part of the scheme, is proposed at the different levels in different forms, as a gardening terrace, as a projection room and as an open deck for playing. The vegetation on the ground -bamboo, ivy and high herbals-works as a combinations of diverse semi-transparent screens, it’s organized in layers to maximize spatial depth and at the same time to respond to privacy needs. Working with effects of reflection and refraction the pool blends architectural solidity with the landscape informality helping to brighten the interiors on the east side and specifically the living room of the new volume.