72 MANORS, ZHELIN LAKE, PR CHINA
LABORATORY FOR VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE AND ART
GENERAL AND TECHNICAL REPORT
That what is of a congenial nature must be loved. (That which is at variance and enmity with itself is not likely to be in union or harmony with any other thing.)
Plato, Lysis 215e
A House with Two Faces. The one is public, accessible to everyone, and the other one is private and intimate. The one is a path through the woods, the other is an eye that enfolds intact nature. The one focuses on natural environment, the other one nestles in the treetops, enabling creative ideas to emerge and flow. The one opens itself to the skies and the treetops, the other is a levitating canopy that shelters the workshops situated within the building. This building relies on both Chinese and world architectural principles.
A House that Serves Community. The house as a socializing frame for the whole community, both the village and the architectural and art colony. Instead of building an access road, this house offers an alternative: the workshop itself can become a platform that commands a stunning scenic view, as well as a walking trail. The first 250 meters are just a path through the woods that turns into a pedestrian bridge that finally becomes the rooftop of an architectural laboratory into which one climbs down from the top. In addition to the architectural laboratory and an exhibition space, the building also houses a small “Viennese” cafeteria, a cultural link between the designer and the local tradition.
A House for Education. Learning and knowledge are key to every progress. Life-long learning has become reality in our lives. This is a house in which architectural- and art students from all over China and overseas will be able to learn together and examine culture of living and helping vernacular architecture and art to became visible, and to do so not only academically, but also to work practically on alternatives to the contemporary dogmas of city urbanization. The laboratory will be a place for research on handmade objects, materials and technics and training people who are then supposed to train other people and thus hand down the cultural mission of the 72 Manors project to further generations.
A House in Sync with Nature. And not the other way round. The shape has emerged from correlation with nature. On its way through the woods, the skywalk simply dodges the existing trees by meandering around them, thus becoming part of that same nature as well. The entire island is a garden, and this house is its walking trail and a scenic view platform. Its height does not overwhelm or harm the nature underneath it.
A Healthy House that Uses Local Materials: Its entire aesthetics is derived from the use of natural materials. It's structure is made of steel, a framework that stands on elegant steel pillars. Inside, the walls, are all made of wooden panels. The side facades are glass panels. Outside, the entire house is covered in steel mash that serve as sun shades and the façade at the same time. The roof is how one gets into the house, an entrance and a walking platform at the same time. The lightness of materials saves energy and also makes possible for the structure to be borne by the elegant pillars.
Architecture for People. This is a house that brings all neighbors together, a house for everyone, the villagers, the architecture- and art students, guests and random visitors.
A House of Inspiration. It's originality lies in the symbiosis of its two faces -- the public (outdoor) one and the private (indoor) one -- into one harmonious whole. The building is simultaneously a piece of infrastructure and a house, a place of work and a place for creative thinking.
Special places like this are highly inspirational.
Important details: the project has been done on the basis of statistical projections, rather than a precise set of data, which would have to include earth samples, wind measurements, etc.
As you can see from the enclosed renderings, the main deviation from the initial design has to do with facade -- we propose using corroded steel instead of wood, for safety reasons but also because steel provides better sun protection.
At the same time, that material reflects better the character of the entire building. The floor and the Skywalk parapet are the only parts of the structure that are decked with a tropical hardwood, shorea (also called lauan). Everything else should be made of Corten steel.
The pedestrian (forest) path would be made just of wooden or concrete ribs laid into the ground.
Mladen Jadric, Vienna, Februar 2018
Mladen Jadric is teaching (TU) and practicing architecture in Vienna, Austria. He has realized a wide range of projects of different scales: architectural and urban design projects, housing, residences, art installations and experiments with new materials and technologies in Austria, USA, Finland and China. He has gained extensive experience as a visiting professor and guest lecturer in Europe, USA, Asia, Australia, and South America. He has exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, M.I.T., Cooper Union, and Roger Williams University, USA; Alvar Aalto University, Helsinki, the Architectural Biennale in Venice, the World Architectural Triennale in Tokyo, Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urban Planning, NIT-Nagoya, and many more. He received the State Award for Experimental Architecture, Karl Scheffel Preis and Schorsch Preis for housing by City of Vienna, Grand Prize by Mayor of Busan, Korea. Member of Künstlerhaus.