Renovation of Guangzhou House | Urbanus

The Renovation of a Little House in a Historical Neighborhood of Guangzhou Guangzhou / China / 2018

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广州海珠区的蒙圣社区,因传说秦朝名将蒙恬后裔在此定居而得名。项目所在的上蒙圣街是一条幽深的小巷,原建筑是1985年屋主自建的三层半砖混结构小楼,单层建筑面积仅有22平方米,四周为密集的房屋所包围。


The Mengsheng Community in the Haizhu District of Guangzhou got its name out of the saying that the descendants of Mengtian, a legendary general of Qin Dynasty (221B.C-207B.C), resided here. The project is located on Upper-Mengsheng Street, a long and winding alleyway. The original house was a three-story brick and concrete structure that the owner built in 1985 with merely 22 square meters floor area on single story. It is closely surrounded by its neighboring buildings.


东侧紧贴临屋外墙,北侧和西侧距邻家只有90和30公分,南面一条80公分宽的幽暗窄巷是入户的唯一通道,仅容两人错身而过。房子不仅小、挤、暗、与邻屋对视、热工性能差,还有结构隐患,是旧城改造中典型的疑难杂症。


The east side of the house brushes against the exterior wall of the adjacent house, while the north and west sides have a spacing of 90 and 30 centimeters with neighboring houses. The 80 -centimeter-wide alley in the south, which barely allows two people to walk pass each other, is the only passage that leads to the entrance. In addition to being small, compressed, dark, and inconveniently close to the neighboring houses, the building also has poor thermal performance with underlying structural dangers. These issues are always typical in the process of regeneration in old city quarters.


改造设计由内及外,在极小的空间内重新组织生活功能,用雕镂的方法使建筑内部上下贯通,房中有房,小中见大;顶层引入天光,明暗开合有度。施工由整体结构加固着手,拆除原楼梯,将原先陡峻的单跑梯改为舒适的折返梯,形成新的垂直流线。在每一层均设有独立卫生间。南北两侧外墙上特殊的采光斗将天光引入底层,墙面不同位置开辟出一系列独特的景窗,不仅为各层带来极佳的自然采光,也将周边风景借入斗室之中。四层顶楼有一个空灵剔透的小房间和一个可以四面环顾市景的露台,它没有固定的功能,适于赏月、饮茶和沉思。


The renovation plan started from the interior, aiming to reorganize the vital functions of daily life within the limited space. The operation of carving through the floor plates enables the integration of the whole building and creates interlocking living spaces. Skylights are introduced on the top floor to allow light in the building. Thus the dark and light spaces, openings and enclosures, are manipulated to make the tiny interior feel much more spacious. The construction started with the reinforcement of the overall structure. The original steep, single-run stair was replaced by a comfortable double-flight one as a device to rearrange vertical circulation. There is individual bathroom on each floor. The customized light scoops on the north and south walls bring additional skylight to the dark ground floor. Carefully designed viewing windows at various positions on the walls not only usher in natural light to each floor, but also bring outside views inside. On the top fourth floor, there is a transparent small room and a terrace that overlooks the surrounding city. It is intended to be an open space flexible for various activities as admiring the moon, having tea or contemplating.


一个房子,不仅需要容纳人的身体,还应该容纳人的精神和梦想。整栋房子虽小,但足以承载大都会喧嚣之上的一份超然物外的恬静。正如《桃花源记》中的“初极狭,才通人”,走过只有一线天光的窄巷,又“复行数十步,豁然开朗”,从下而上经历了一个从幽暗到明亮、从压抑到释放的过程,构建出一个垂直的桃花源式的居住体验。

A house should not only accommodate people, but also their spirit and dreams. Though this house is tiny, it provides a unique feeling of serenity over the hustle and bustle of the metropolis. The stroll through the dark and narrow alley into the building can be a reminder of an excerpt from the Chinese literary classic, The Peach Colony, that tells a story of a fisherman’s discovery of an “Arcadia” at the end of a grove of peach trees: “At first the opening was very narrow, barely wide enough for one person to go in ”. After walking through the alley that is illuminated by only a beam of narrowly constrained skylight, eventually “it opened into a flood of light ”. Here, while one ascends from the ground floor of the building to the top, he gradually emerges from darkness into brightness and his feelings would rise from repression to a sense of release. This experience is akin to that of the fisherman, thus the building can be seen as the reconstruction of a “vertical Peach Colony”.


建筑外墙选用了褐红色天然纹理的小片石材,颜色与周边的老旧建筑相近,随着时间的流逝它细碎的纹理会与环境愈加融合。改造后的建筑低调地融入社区,坐享大都会中‘大隐于市’的一方精神天地。


Small pieces of maroon stone with natural grains are chosen for the exterior wall of the house, since their color matches with the surrounding old buildings. As time passes, the overall texture of the wall will enable the house to be further integrated into the surrounding environment. After renovation, the building still takes on a low-key stance in the neighborhood, while provides a welcoming respite for its owners in the bustling city.


这个仅80余平方米的极小独栋住宅是构成广州旧城肌理的一个微小单元,作为一个城市微更新的样本,它对于历史传统深厚的旧城区,有着特殊的人文意义,也是对大拆大建的旧城更新模式的批判和抵抗。


This small, single-family house of merely 80 square meters is a tiny cell that composes the old city fabric of Guangzhou. As an example of the city's micro-regeneration process, this project has a unique cultural ambition for the revival of the historical clusters within the city. It undertakes resistance and provides an alternative option that opposes the prevailing tabula rasa model of urban renewal.


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Principal Architect: Meng Yan
Project Architect: Jiang Qingzhou
Team: Zhang Chaoxian


(LDI) Structure/ MEP (Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing):
Beijing Century Peak International Architecture Design Co., Ltd.
China Building Design Consultants, Shenzhen


Photographers: Zhang Chao, Meng Yan, Jiang Qingzhou, Zhang Chaoxian

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    广州海珠区的蒙圣社区,因传说秦朝名将蒙恬后裔在此定居而得名。项目所在的上蒙圣街是一条幽深的小巷,原建筑是1985年屋主自建的三层半砖混结构小楼,单层建筑面积仅有22平方米,四周为密集的房屋所包围。 The Mengsheng Community in the Haizhu District of Guangzhou got its name out of the saying that the descendants of Mengtian, a legendary general of Qin Dynasty (221B.C-207B.C), resided here. The project is located on Upper-Mengsheng Street, a long and winding alleyway. The original house was a three-story brick and concrete structure that the owner built in 1985 with merely 22 square meters floor...

    Project details
    • Year 2018
    • Work finished in 2018
    • Client DRAGON TV
    • Status Completed works
    • Type Multi-family residence / Tower blocks/Skyscrapers / Interior Design / Custom Furniture / Building Recovery and Renewal
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