The Huaxi Mengxibitan residential project is located in Huaxi, a growing district 17km far from the city center of Guiyang, Guizhou province capital. The project dates back to 2004, when the district was starting its expansion. At that time, especially in Guizhou area, construction and technical skills were very basic, that is why architects had to find simple and alternative ways to control project construction.
A 1:1 'model' has been created on site using bamboo frames. This helped to control the scale of the project in relationship with the mountainous environment. Positioning these bamboos also helped to highlight critical points, mainly for the foundations, due to the particularly harsh conditions of the site and composition of the soil. The choice to turn this 'bamboo net' into a concrete one has been, again, mainly due to lack of construction skills, which could not allow the use of steel frames. The shape of the so called Dream Stream takes inspiration from the typical informal architecture of Guizhou wooden villages.
The net has been modeled on the mountain, following its shape. Using this simple grid helped the architects to better control the project. The repetition of a single module originates a system, which, always because of lack of skills, slightly changes. But the architects were aware of these problems and adopted the grid exactly in order to control what could not be fully controlled, allowing mistakes. Mistakes that in the end result as unexpected and surprising changes of the original module.
The main characteristic of this residential project is its complicated circulation system. Forking routes originated different kind of yards and different level of privacy. Yards are the most important spaces in Huaxi Mengxibitan houses' composition. Some have water, some are sweet-smelling with flowers, others are bamboo yards. Some courtyards are crossed by this articulated system of paths, some are created by paths moving all around, others are 'covered' by aerial boardwalks. Stairs also play a crucial role in a project built following the mountain's shape. Some are open public connections between courtyards, others are more private, enclosed between walls. Together with the path system they help to create floating spaces in between residences, open courtyards on different levels which generate every time different walking experiences.