In recent years, China’s countryside areas have been at the centre of major land developments, where numerous tourism projects have been developed with the aim of accentuating economic investment. House G, on the other hand, is an atypical rural project in relation to this trend. The architecture, in fact, was designed for a local family and not for the investment market. A house intended for family life and the needs of its users.
House G project was designed by Interval Architects, founded by Oscar KO and GU Yunduan, based in Shanghai. Their creations reflect the specificities of the contexts in which they are developed, respecting the traditional production of a given place and time. Architectural projects such as the Brick Tower or the Raffles Kindergarten Complex earned the firm numerous prizes and awards.
House G, commissioned by an elderly couple, is located in a village near Shanghai which has a series of regulations to be observed when designing new structures in the area, to which are added the constraints of local customs and cultural beliefs. These observances define the fundamental characteristics of the current appearance of the rural landscape of the Yangtze Delta region. The house has therefore taken inspiration from the forms already present on the site. The structure is a linear volume with a pitched roof and fits naturally into the context. The south façade has an elongated width to improve exposure to natural light, while also providing a beautiful view of the rice field. The roof and balconies emphasise the building’s horizontality and perceptually reduce its height. Among the architectural elements strongly typical of southern China is the horizontal cantilevered roof.
The house respects the hierarchical living and communication habits of the inhabitants, who, unlike those who live in big cities, also need space to work the land and interact with their neighbours. To the south is the entrance to the house and a space for producing and growing local vegetables. The courtyard extends from the inside to the outside, where benches and sinks are positioned, providing a sort of boundary between the owners of the house and their neighbours. On the second level of the building there is a balcony, which provides shade and protection over the courtyard. The foyer not only serves as an entrance, but is also dedicated to hospitality and recreation. The living room is the place where the family gathers, but also a religious space where ancestor worship is practised. The second level is mainly private, where the owners can retire. Here are the bathrooms and bedrooms, connected by a corridor that extends to the mezzanine at the top. A table serves as a nook in the middle of the corridor, allowing the family to relax and have a cup of tea.
The terrace and balconies enjoy a wide view of the surroundings and offer undisturbed outdoor space. On the mezzanine level there is a courtyard, which is the most intimate and private place in the house.