Transforming two rural buildings into a social and educational space in China, the project aims at exploring beauty of the original structures and the surrounding landscape, using additional connections to enhance interaction
Located in the South of Zhouchong Village, at the foot of the dam of Zhouchong Tank, Huashu Rural College was renovated from two old rural houses. It is designed as a rural studio, later used as a rural library and an activity room of the village. It has attracted booklovers from the city center to experience the traditional Chinese lifestyle of “reading when it’s rainy and working when it’s sunny”.
One of the original houses was a barn for rice, the other was a farmhouse. The barn had its exterior walls constructed of stones, while the farmhouse had exterior walls of bricks with cement plaster on the surface. The villages nearby, the factories far away, the tank at the high place and the surrounding farmland, pools, mountains and forests form a quiet and serene landscape. Considering the interior environment, the farmhouse was brighter and the warehouse was dimmer. The two houses stood next to each other, just at the foot of the dam. The dam was a bit higher than the roofs, thus you could catch all the surrounding landscape in your eyes once you stand on the dam.
The design strategy is addition and adjustment. It aimed at discovering the characteristics and beauty of the original buildings and their surroundings, and building unique relationship between them. One focus is to reorganize. After reorganization, the bright brick farmhouse was turned into a tidy and clear reading room with a sense of rituality, while the dark stone barn was turned into a social space with quiet atmosphere and rich texture. The other focus is to expand and connect. An entrance courtyard and a lifted courtyard in the air were added to the bright house. The lifted one offered a view to the surrounding landscape. While the dark house added a curved long courtyard extending to the lotus pool to the north, where people could party outside.