Tongling Recluse by RSAA / Büro Ziyu Zhuang

Splendid Isolation

Tongling Recluse by RSAA and Ziyu Zhuang

The residents of this house in the Anhui province of China may think of themselves as recluses, but there is no chance of staying out of the spotlight with a home as beautifully harmonious as this.

Designed by RSAA architects and Ziyu Zhuang, the house occupies a commanding hillside location overlooking the village.  It is built on the wrecks of a small house executed in the local style, which provided the inspirations for the new design.

The architects extended the building lengthwise, widened it at one end by duplicating the front gable, built a curved wall along one side, cut up a block in the middle to create an atrium and installed an extra floor.  The end result is surprisingly modern yet in tune with the local vernacular.  The roofs, for example, may be covered with local tiles, but they take on distinctive swooping shapes as they follow the new-found curves of the building, creating extended eaves over generously proportioned verandas.  Sections of the old house have been retained and incorporated into the walls of the new building in a harmonious melding of the old and the new.  The extensive use of glass creates a very modern sense of lightness, especially at the new larger gable end of the house and in the spectacular central atrium.  The bright and airy space inside is thoughtfully decorated with sleek modern furniture punctuated with daring design features including a ribbon-like floating staircase and brass details galore.

This stunning house is an eloquent reflection of modern China: progress and history in harmony, and surprisingly well designed too. 

Tongling Recluse by RSAA and Ziyu ZhuangTongling Recluse by RSAA and Ziyu ZhuangTongling Recluse by RSAA and Ziyu ZhuangTongling Recluse by RSAA and Ziyu ZhuangTongling Recluse by RSAA and Ziyu ZhuangTongling Recluse by RSAA and Ziyu ZhuangTongling Recluse by RSAA and Ziyu Zhuang

Credits and Data

Architect: RSAA / Büro Ziyu Zhuang
Principal Architect: Zhuang Ziyu
Design Team: Qi Zhengdong, Li Na, Li Jing, Zhao Xin, Fan Hongyu, Zhu Kunyu, Wang Jiaxin (Intern)
Architecture Consultant: Daniel Wu
Landscape Consultant: Yang Shugen
Lighting Consultant: Chloe Zhang / GLD
Construction Team: Anhui Jiangnan Cultural Tourism Group
Owner Unit: Brain Media
Floor Area: 160 m2
Landscape Area: 600 m2
Photographer: Su Shengliang, FNJI



Shop the Style

Romantic Style

Product Inspiration

The elegant, contemporary East-meets-West style of Stellar Works would suit this house perfectly.  Try the Ren Dining Armchair, the James Bar Cart and the Utility Long Mirror.
Ren Dining Armchair  James Bar Cart  Utility Long Mirror Small


For lighting go for the contemporary natural look with the Link suspension light from LZF, the Scraplight Tilt floor light from Graypants and the Bowl table light from New Works

Link Suspension Light - Large  Scraplight Tilt Floor Light  Bowl Table Lamp


We love the simple elegance of the Nassa ceramic vases from Incipit and the brass highlights of the Florida bowl from Ghidini 1961.  The Baltazar candle from Andrej Urem would work well in this house too.

Nassa Colourful Ceramic Vases Florida Bowl  Baltazar Candle