Playing with Stars
Starry nights are scarcely seen in modern metropolises. It becomes a dreamy memory for most metropolitans. Instead, neon lights are dazzling here and there in the evening. But in the ancient waterfront village Henggang, the design team was impressed by and enjoyed such long-lost starring nights. This special experience inspired designers to build up a courtyard of “Playing with Stars” for villagers.
▼夜空下的竹星院，Playing with Stars
▼ 改造前的后院实景，View of backyard before renovation
In accordance with the on-the-spot investigation, the design team decided to integrate the courtyard, wasteland and bamboo forest into a whole. Foldable fences would be further set between them to improve spatial interaction. Meanwhile, the foldable fences divided the courtyard into two parts, public and private spaces, to meet multi-dimensional needs of the visitors. In addition, a unique “starry-sky box” art installation was designed and set in the center of the courtyard to make it as a fun for villagers and visitors. Sitting on a lounge chair in the box, people could enjoy the starry sky at night, feeling the aesthetics of life in this cozy ancient village. The project site is a backyard of a lodge, on the north, occupying an area of more than 220m2, with a spatial depth of 7m. A piece of wasteland with a spatial depth of 17m is located between the backyard and the nearby river. There is a small bamboo forest next to the wasteland.
▼ 概念草图，conception sketch
观星盒子的建造|Construction of Starry-sky Box
Bamboo was used as the basic material to construct the frame of starring-sky box. But what was to be the ideal material for the façades of the box? According to designers: a. the material should be semi-transparent to make the built-in lighting available outside as a floating lantern in the tranquil idyllic night; b. it should be easily constructed due to the lack of cost and labors; c. visual aesthetics is necessary to enhance the landscape value; d. durability should be included. As mentioned above, a semi-transparent durable nonwoven curtain fabric was selected to be the material for facades of the box, creating a dreamy lighting effect at night.
竹灯装置的建造|Construction of Built-in Bamboo Lamp Installations
Local bamboos with the height of 5~6m were selected as lampposts, and slotted it at the top from 60cm to 80cm to set lighting circuit. As for the lamp selection, most outdoor lamps are too large sized to be installed into the slim bamboos. Finally, a waterproof LED lamp was well adopted with its smaller size. In addition, acrylic sheets and PVC waterproof glue were used to do the further waterproofing for the lamps. A starry courtyard was born with dreamy air when all the bamboo lamps turned on at night.
▼竹灯建成照片，Built-up bamboo lamp installations
墙绘|Painting on the Lodge Façade
The designers also painted a doe playing with her child on one of the lodge’s red-brick façade to further endow the courtyard with aesthetics of life.
▼墙绘实景图，Facade painting of the lodge by designers
竹篱笆墙的建造|Construction of Bamboo Fences
Bamboos with shoots and with the height of about 2.5m were selected to be the material of fence construction. The fencing structural columns are well hidden behind the double-side polished bamboo fences, by which the landscaping quality are better improved. Besides, the fence near the sidewalk was constructed with much more bamboo to enhance its density so that the privacy would be guaranteed in the courtyard.
▼竹篱笆建成照片，Built-up bamboo fences
▼2018横港乡建营暨奥雅集训营的学生施工完全采用了现成的材料和工具，Native materials and tools are fully used in this project
Courtyard of Playing with Stars becomes a new playground for children in Henggang Village. The children are always excitedly and curiously looking up to the “Starry-sky Box” and chasing around with happy laughing.
▼竹星院实景照片，Courtyard of Playing with Stars
At night, bamboo lamps are all lit up with starlight in the tranquil village. People enjoy the idyllic life with their families, enchanted by innocence and romance here.
▼在璀璨星空下，人们享受与家人一起的时光，People enjoy the time with their families
▼设计团队在竹星院合照，Project Team in the Courtyard of playing with Stars
A Breeze in the Drizzle
Native cultural connotations are important elements that should be integrated into the qualified design of a homestay project, to send visitors a cozy feeling within indigenous nature.
Henggang Village, Wuzhen, Tongxiang
The project is located in Henggang Village, an ancient waterfront village in the South of Yangtze River. Less and less residential population is a general problem in most villages alike in China. People living here are most seniors who prefer staying in their hometown.
Renovation & Construction
Henggang is adjacent to Wuzhen, but far less famous than Wuzhen without special scenery. Nevertheless, its original ancient features are the most precious among the hustle and bustle of rural construction. The design team of this project are trainees of L&A Henggang Rural Construction & Design Training Camp 2018. Impressed by original ancient taste here when visiting the project site at first, the design team decided to turn the special taste into a concrete landscape for the lodge, to make the historic cultural connotations available and touchable to the visitors.
▼院子改造前，The lodge before renovation
It is vitally important to well integrate local natural scenery and cultural connotations into the project design. In the backyard of the lodge there stands a hundred-year-old elm, well preserved by the design team. It witnessed the past-100-year story of Henggang, creating a poetic air when drizzling, with special Chinese romance. The elm was regarded as the entrance landmark, the gate built here and named “A Breeze in the Drizzle” on the plaque.
▼保留大榆树，建立入口大门，The elm well preserved as entrance landmark
“A Breeze in the Drizzle”, “落雨”(drizzle or drizzling), from the homonymic word “榆” (elm) in Chinese。Also, around the lodge, there is a mini bamboo forest, the bamboos rustling in the soft breeze. Thereupon, the project name was born as “A Breeze in the Drizzle”, all the natural features on the site included, to build a lodge surrounded by native flavor. The existed altitude difference on the site was well applied to build up a leisure space for tea time within the bamboo forest. Light and shadows are playing on the façade of the lodge, showing a picturesque world of fantasy to visitors. It is an ideal world for visitors to spend their cozy tea time, chatting and enjoying slowdown life style in bamboos.
▼修葺完成后的竹下品茶空间，Leisure space for tea time built up
虚实竹影一景|Light and shadows playing in the bamboo forest
Light and shadows are playing on the façade of the lodge, showing a picturesque world of fantasy to visitors.
▼设计团队将竹影绘制到墙体立面，Team painting the bamboo shadows on the façade of the lodge
“历史”景墙的设计|Design for historic feature walls
Antique ornaments from villagers are another vital elements in this project. It inspires the design team to endow the renovated lodge with antique and historic “soul”.
▼居民家的旧物件，Antique ornaments from villagers
“Within a long history in Henggang, antique ornaments are well preserved by senior villagers. Some niches are designed on three feature walls set in the front yard to display the antique ornaments carved production date, ancient stories filled in.”
▼景墙建成后效果，The built-up historic feature walls
▼透过景墙看竹下品茶空间，Leisure space for tea time through the walls
All the materials used in this project are collected locally, such as bricks and utensils, showing the native culture, history, also villagers’ nostalgic feeling to visitors.
▼用当地材料与村中旧物设计的院中软装，Decorations made of local materials and old objects
▼庭院一角建成后效果，A corner in the courtyard after renovation
Senior villagers usually lead a calm and ordinary life here. But they are now very interesting in the feature walls. They donated their antiques to display on the walls, chatting with designers enthusiastically about the stories of antiques. Also, the three feature walls create an ideal chatting corner for villagers to facilitate their communications.
▼村民在院子里闲谈，villagers chatting in the courtyard
Most time, communication is the best way to break the gaps between people. The design team renovated this lodge to bridge communication between villagers and visitors, creating a cozy homestay project for everyone who are eager for the idyllic life to escape daily hustle and bustle. It is a homestay project filled with the aesthetics of life. The design team believes every visitor will enjoy idyllic life here.
▼村民讲述老物件的故事，villagers talking about the stories of antiques
Project Name: Playing with Stars & A Breeze in the Drizzle
Design Company: L&A Design
Contact Email: [email protected]
Completion Year: August, 2018
Designer & Team: Group 2 (Playing with Stars) Group 10&11 (A Breeze in the Drizzle) of L&A Henggang Rural Construction & Design Training Camp 2018
Project Location: Henggang Village, Wuzhen, Zhejiang
Photography: Qiu Ripei