Peach Hut // Atelier XI

Xiuwu County, Jiaozuo, China

Architizer Editors Architizer Editors

 

Text description provided by the architects.

In the beginning, the architect received the original commission to design a 300-square-meter public building for facilitating the county’s culture and art education. However, considering the vast serving area (630-square-kilometer county area) and the difficulty of traveling between scattered villages, the architect came up with a proposal to divide one building into a series of miniature facilities in different locations so as to better serve local communities.

© Chao Zhang

© Chao Zhang

© Chao Zhang

© Chao Zhang

Through these minimal architecture investments, the project aims to inspire sensibilities of local residents, to help them enjoy and rethink life quality, as well as to alleviate isolation and poverty.

These cast-in-place concrete miniatures are interpreted into a series of tree-shaped spaces with tentacles reaching out for the sky, bathing in light and shadow.

© Chao Zhang

© Chao Zhang

© Chao Zhang

© Chao Zhang

Their locations vary from fields, woods, to mountaintops, and their forms differ as well.”Peach Hut”, the first completed miniature pavilion, is surrounded by a field of blossoming peach trees in a farmland. The trees on the site which all lean to one side inspired the sculptural form of the architecture.

© Chao Zhang

© Chao Zhang

© Chao Zhang

© Chao Zhang

The architect envisions that the building is cut from a series of invisible arcs derived from the earth and the cloud, forming a unique shape that rises to the sky.

In the Peach Hut, all windows are of diverse shapes, responding to different views and light angles: the large floor-to-ceiling window on the second floor allows viewers to jump over the peach trees and overlook the entire farm; the round window frame on the south side rotates along the central axis, and captures dynamic imageries of the orchard under the subtle variation of daylight; the vertical windows at the corners lengthen the depth of field from the orchard to the village at far; the shadow resulted from the skylight changes at every moment; and the entrance corner window is made as a quarter circle resembling the stooped peach trees, thus resonating with the picturesque land.

Impressed by the peach blossoms on the site during the first visit, the architect decided to coat the building with pink cast-in-place concrete.

© Chao Zhang

© Chao Zhang

© Chao Zhang

© Chao Zhang

After repeated field tests, the architect and the construction team eventually found a formula that met the desired color and concrete strength. The exterior concrete finish is cast with small wooden formwork to outline the contour of the curved geometry, and the interior finish is cast with a smooth formwork to better reflect the skylight from above.

© Chao Zhang

© Chao Zhang

© Atelier XI

© Atelier XI

In early morning, at noon, dusk and night, the pink concrete wall reveals different colors and qualities based on the changing light conditions.

The architect hopes to leave a few marks on the building that belong only to this piece of land. Therefore, a bronze wall sconce and black steel door handles are designed with the outline of the building; and a relief tree is cast on the concrete facade with customized formwork, orientating towards sunrise to the east.

The architect encourages using local materials as much as possible.

© Chao Zhang

© Chao Zhang

© Chao Zhang

© Chao Zhang

A local sawmill aided with the preparation of the wood strips used in building the formworks of cast-in-place concrete. Interior wood finishing and furniture pieces are also made of local woods by local carpenters. Passive systems concerning daylighting and ventilation are also applied. The skylight and floor-to-ceiling windows all provide effective lighting.

© Chao Zhang

© Chao Zhang

© Chao Zhang

© Chao Zhang

Operable windows and doors invite wind-driven cross ventilation to increase interior thermal comfort. A small pond by the hut collects a part of rainwater harvested from the roof; Together with a natural ground slope below the wooden platform, they allow storm water to percolate into soils and to fertilize peach trees and native shrubs around..

© Atelier XI

© Atelier XI

© Atelier XI

© Atelier XI

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© Ema Peter Photography

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