The Origin Villa was commissioned to dismantle six buildings in a rural “empty nest” village in Tonglu, and to rebuild as a new retreat village.
Scattered throughout the hidden village, it is obvious to us that the architecture should be in harmony with its surrounding. The existing villagers’ houses are built with beautiful rammed-earth walls made using local soil. However, if we just renovate using the same traditional method, it is inevitable that the view of the charming landscape outside will be blocked entirely and the interior space will feel compressed because of the heavy walls. Furthermore, if the new resort is solely constructed with country-style rammed-earth walls, it will just be a restoration project and may not be so attractive to many tourists. The task was to balance two seemingly contradicting conditions: to fully enjoy the abundant nature of the site (open) while harmonizing with the existing houses (enclosed walls).
The village nests within the mountain, and the houses were built following the contour line of the mountainous terrain pointing at different directions. Although the distance between each building is relatively close, there is still a good view for each one because they never face each other.
We used different local materials, such as bamboo, red bricks, stone, and carbonized wood, to highlight each building’s unique site situation, also expressed in each one with a space of rest in nature (living room) and a more private space enclosed with rammed earth walls (bedroom). The coexistence of these two types of space is our solution to the two conflicting conditions.
Due to the site being hidden so deep in the mountain, transportation of building materials had to be strategized. The Origin Villa used mostly locally produced, or even reused materials such as soil and stone. This way, not only does the overall retreat village disappear into the landscape, each building can also use its unique material to blur the line between interior and exterior.
There is no light coming from this lonely village’s surrounding at night, so one can feel sufficient brightness even with a minimum amount of lighting. We kept the lights that can illuminate the entire space uniformly, such as downlights, to the minimum, and used all-directional soft umbrella-like lights such as free-standing lamps and table lights throughout the space. These fixtures project soft arches of light and shadow, illuminating the seamless finish and rounded edges of the walls and ceilings. Wrapped with the warmth of light, the rooms feel more calming and comfortable.
Blending into the landscape of the village, we hope to give a new perspective of the beautiful scenery through our architecture.