Guiyang Huaxi Urban Centre
In 2008, Serie was invited alongside nine other young architectural practices from across the globe to participate in the design for a new urban centre in Guiyang. The masterplan, developed by MAD Beijing and Tongji Studio 6, envisioned a masterplan that consists of autonomous buildings surrounded by nature – in retrospect, perhaps as the only strategy able to accommodate the different architects in the absence of a stringent design guideline.
Our allocated site, Parcel 9, is the first parcel in the south cluster that comprises low rise buildings. It is set in contrast to the tower cluster on the north, as intended by the masterplanners. Being primarily a housing brief, our proposal attempted to rethink the courtyard house in the context of high density communal housing and to reconsider the synthesis of a legible figure with the surrounding indigenous landscape. From this, our proposal draws together two parallel ideas, one typological, and the other from the indigenous landscape of Guiyang. The project begins with the typal transformation of the Hakka/Tulou House. Drawing from the intelligence of the circular courtyards, our proposal puts forth an organisation that combines a clear collective shared circular courtyard that binds together a series of smaller private courtyards. Each of the proposed SOHOs (Single Occupier Home Office) – as a new live/work type – contains a private courtyard that rooms cluster around. This clustering of courtyards with a gradient of privacy envisions the idea of communal housing as an amalgamation of different degrees of private and shared spaces cohering into a legible whole.
The placement of these multiple courtyards enables a double facade to all the rooms – one facing the private courtyard and the other facing the shared courtyard – capitalising on the views towards two ends of the site: the mountain and the valley.
The overall envelope of the Live/Work clusters presents itself as three ‘peaks’ that contain the typological imprint of the Hakka/Tulou House. Binding these three peaks is the gently undulating public ground, opening up vistas towards the valley of the site and also framing the needle-mountains of Guiyang from the valley. This act of framing the landscape also occurs at multiple levels – from the public ground to the shared courtyards to the double facades of the rooms – and is akin to the landscape scroll paintings of the Song Dynasty. In these paintings, the magnificent mountains are presented in a succession of view points, captured as parts and yet presented as wholes.
- Location: Guizhou, China
- Use: Commercial, Live/ Work
- Date: : Concept design, July 2008
- Area: 16,000 sqm
- Design Team: Chris Lee, Bolam Lee, Udayan Mazumdar, Kevin Hung