Zhan Yuan (Courtyard House for Gazing)
The project is located in a typical village (Hou Hei Long Miao) near Yanqing, Beijing, which is surrounded by a beautiful mountain (Hai Tuo Shan) from the north, and a pond (Guan Ting) from the south.
In 2018, Wee Studio was invited here for a design collaboration with four other architects, to build a cluster of minsu — a type of Chinese-style bed-and-breakfast — consisting of five buildings. The five sites to be transformed were randomly matched with the architects, making for a fruitful project in which distinctive design methodologies are juxtaposed within a single complex.
The proposal is developed from the behavior of “looking.” The minsu is interpreted as a place where guests from urban areas can converse with the site. Visitors are meant to gaze upon Haituo Mountain from the roof terrace free of distractions — therefore, the roof’s northern edge is curved up to obscure the presence of neighboring buildings, pulling the mountain visually closer to the viewer. With the same strategy applied to its southern edge, the roof takes the shape of an inverted vault with a dip at the center.