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Donghe House Prototype

In Collaboration with Tianhui Hou and Miao Zhang

© Commons Office, 2019

This project is located in Donghe County in the city of Zhuji, Zhejiang Province. It was initiated as a prototype house within a larger planning blueprint, which aspires to develop this area into a high-quality residential district mainly serving elderly people. While the location is somewhat remote from adjacent urban area, the beautiful scenery and natural environment become the focal and starting point of the design process.

How can we achieve the spatial and programmatic coherence while maintaining a strong connection with the surrounding environment? How could architectural typology respond to the idea of nature with precision in this context? How could such typology also be adaptable in order to be reconfigured into different topographies and orientations within the site?

With these design questions in mind, we have tested and developed two key elements in the prototype: one is the modularized living unit that not only defines public area, living area, and outdoor spaces, but could also be configured in different ways in plan and section to adapt to the site topography and orientation. The other element is the roof which was extracted as a type from the local and traditional houses in the area. The arrangement of the roofs reinforces the modularized spatial configuration and creates a humble architectural image. The façade of the house was inspired by the surrounding bamboo forest, it visually blends the house into its contexts and provides precise yet operable window-facade system that optimizes the ventilation, view, and imageability.

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