Renovating a derelict farmhouse is not a project for the faint-hearted. It takes real skill and dedication to understand the local vernacular and reinterpret it for contemporary living. Wei Architects (also known as Elevation Workshop) pulled this off beautifully with the Springing Stream house.
Located at a rural location in Fujian province in China, the house originally comprised a two-storey wood and stone building with a sheep shed on the side, much of which was in ruins. The architects restored the structure sensitively, leaving the pre-existing stones in situ and using local aged timber, which gives the house an organic feel. To this the architects added a wavy roof with extended eaves which echoes the shape of the nearby mountains, creating an evocative verandah for dining and tea drinking. This spectacular undulating roof, which somehow manages to look organic and futuristic at the same time, was actually inspired by traditional buildings in southern China. Vast floor-to-ceiling windows on the ground floor further obscure the boundary between inside and outside, giving the house a lightness which feels almost pavilion-like.
The sensitive design treatment continues inside, for example with the preservation of the original hearth, around which the modern kitchen was built, and the use of timber furniture and upholstery in neutral tones. A concrete floor on the ground level adds a surprisingly effective contemporary touch, especially with the inlaid curvy brass strips which lead people into the heart of the house.
The renovated house is now a charming guest house, an ideal spot to marvel at the beauty of nature and the architects' clever design.
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