The rammed earth and clay tile architecture of rural Zhejiang province offers a vista into a bygone way of living. Elderly Jiang Binlong, known as “papa” in the village of Pingtian, wanted to give new life his weathered 270 square metre farm house. Beijing architect He Wei of 3andwich Design worked with a team consisting of Chen Long, Li Qiang, Chen Huang-Jie and Cheuk Chun-Yung to transform the building into an international standard level youth hostel for tourists to stay and local villagers to enjoy.
The ground floor of the house became a common area for play and social activities. An open bookshelf, games such as a foosball table, a bar counter, loose tables and chairs all allow for flexible interactions.
On the second level, He was inspired by children playing with paper boxes to create a series of houses within the house using lightweight construction materials. Each constitutes a bedroom unit to accommodate four to six people, and are divided using translucent plastic sheets upon a wooden frame. Different size openings between the units allow kids to play hide and seek. The units can also move, as they are set on wheels that allow the youth to reconstruct the mobile spaces. Sunlight filters through the sheets to cast a natural glow during the day, while soft lineal LED lamps follow the wooden framework of the units’ architecture to illuminate spaces at night. The basic furnishings include bunk beds, beanbag chairs and easy to move pieces that let users transform the space to how they wish to temporarily live.
By breathing new life into an old relic, He has given the local community a place to call their own while also providing visitors with a fun insider’s look into life in a small Chinese village.