BAISHA OLD TOWN
Architect: Atelier8+Atelier GOM
Design team: Jorge Gonzalez, Dai Chenjun, Zhao Qing
Project description: Architecture
Project year: 2015-2017
Project area: 684 m2
Built Area: 480 m2
Photographer: Zhang Jiajing (Atelier GOM)
Baisha Old town in Yunnan province is a small village part of Lijiang well known for its Jade Dragon Snow Mountain range. It is still the most legit old town in Lijiang. The typical wood and mud brick houses welcome the visitor to discover the ancient life of the village.
Our project site contains a typical courtyard structure from the past which unfortunately never reached its fate. This failure made us think in a different ways of developing the potential interest of tourism.
Our project searches the limit of the urban fabric. We think of an extension of the alleys through the town where the social life is allocated. We intend to create a little town within the town.
Our interest to explore these imaginary lines between private and public led to a configuration of single units scattered on the site creating a ramification of the town planning.
The project is considered from the existing urbanism but without a mere intention of repeating the old codes. It will add new value to the existing urban pattern. Creating the high density we would face the privacy and relationship with the surroundings. These two inputs would eventually configure the project.
These units are settled on a grid creating series of rows and each unit will rotate to create different situation on ground floor and open to the view. The existing trees determined also the position of the units. These accurate movements create a controlled random-like disposition.
The goal was to give as much privacy on the ground floor as possible extending the inner space towards the exterior while achieving unique views of the surrounding landscape for each cabin.
The architects soon realize the construction must follow some local technique but still wanted to explore the limits of it. Local crew immediately advice of the pitched roof but due to the square dimension of the rational structure the roof is shaped only one direction. It is the closeness of the units which would protect from the wind and rain.
The entire structure is local pine wood with a 4m square side. First floor is comprised allowing the section to expand later, however the floor is opened for natural light come through and break the horizontal boundary.
Two sides of the square are closed with local black brick on the first floor pushing the interior space outside and stopped by the next door unit wall brick. A concrete-wood mixed stair, in situ concrete table and iron fireplace complete the set of fixture inside the open plan. Upstairs, the fireplace pipe, the stairs handrail and the mattress configure the layout.